Bids invited for Cairngorm ski uplift review

A major independent and comprehensive review of uplift facilities and infrastructure at Scotland’s biggest snowsports destination is to get underway in early 2018.

CairnGorm Mountain is home to the UK's highest funicular railway and restaurant. It attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year and provides valuable rural employment, particularly during winter.

At the heart of the UK’s largest National Park the mountain is named by National Geographic as one of the 50 Great Places on Earth. Adventure tourism plays a key part of the wider area’s tourism offering.

Development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), owns the 3,500-acre CairnGorm Estate, around half of which is leased to CairnGorm Mountain Limited (CML) as a year-round visitor attraction.

HIE is inviting tenders for the review and plan to use the findings to inform the long term strategy for the ski resort.

The study will determine options for potential reinvestment in infrastructure. In particular it will include exploring how Cairngorm might adapt in a changing ski market and identify potential opportunities for year-round diversification as well as growth in snow sports. A separate exercise would need to be undertaken with regards to funding and timing of potential new projects that are commercially viable.

The CairnGorm ski area is split into two main basins which meet at a high plateau where several pistes converge and the main nursery slopes and key guest services are located.

The main basin is Coire Cas, which includes the funicular railway and six of ten surface ski-tows. The other four tows are in the upper part of the second basin, Coire na Ciste. The review will explore options for redevelopment of infrastructure in the lower part of Coire na Ciste, following the recent clear up of disused chairlifts.

Other aspects of the infrastructure such as more effective snowmaking, which would improve customer experience and accessibility, will also be covered in the review.

The review is expected to be underway in February 2018 with a final report due in September.

Susan Smith, head of business development at HIE, said:

“CairnGorm Mountain is a major part of the sustainable tourism offering available in and around Aviemore and Strathspey. It is important to develop this key visitor attraction in a way that will increase visitor numbers, generate year-round income and provide employment. Importantly, this will support an industry that attracts young people, both as employees and as customers.

“The uplift review will be very important especially in determining future investment priorities for the facilities. We very much look forward to getting the review underway and invite contractors with experience in assessing these types of visitor attractions to submit their proposals.”


Janette Jansson, general manager at CairnGorm Mountain Ltd added: “We are delighted that the uplift review is progressing. The results will be critical to informing the long term development of CairnGorm Mountain and ensuring that we create the very best experience for all, from experienced skiers and snowboarders to beginners. We will work closely with HIE and other interested parties to analyse the results and implications of the review.”

The deadline for submission is noon on 10 January 2018 and details are available on the Public Contracts Scotland website at:  .

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