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Skiers welcome saving of Hillend
Tuesday March 29, 2011 - Email this article to a friend

The dry ski slope in Scotland has been saved from closure after £1m is pledged to support it. 27,000 people joined a campaign to keep it open. Local skiers and snowboarders have welcomed the news.

It is Britain's longest, and perhaps most famous, artificial slope and has seen many of our best racers train on it over the years.

More than 30 of the UK's Olympic athletes have trained on the slope overlooking Edinburgh.

However Midlothian Council had said it may have to close due to a lack of funds. 

Now it has announced that its immediate future is secure after Sportscotland agreed to give £533,000 and the Scottish government pledged a further £400,000.

The site could even be expanded with a hotel and accommodation complex and extended nursery slopes and intermediate areas.

"We have been successful in obtaining national backing for Britain's longest dry ski slope. The funding will be used to cement Hillend's excellent reputation as the breeding ground for tomorrow's champion and recreational skiers and snowboarders," says a statement on the slope's web site.

"We are delighted that people have come forward to recognise our case that this is a national facility, a jewel in Scotland's sporting crown, and should not be subsidised wholly by the taxpayers of Midlothian.  People have worked hard to cut costs and increase the use of the centre, and we are optimistic that the new developments will make the centre more attractive, and will continue to work in partnership with sportscotland in future,"  said councillor, Derek Milligan, leader of Midlothian Council.

"Many people have helped, and I like to thank Stewart Harris from Sportscotland in particular for his assistance. But snowsports fans should realise the best way to ensure the centre thrives is to use this brilliant asset for Scotland as much as possible."

A series of cost cutting measures were introduced earlier as we reported at the time here on PlanetSKI.

And we reported on news of the extra finances on offer last year

The additional funding and future plans were formally agreed at a council meeting last week.

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