HIE is planning to invest £220,000 (excl. VAT) in a new Kässbohrer Pistenbully 100, and associated accessories.
The new vehicle is more powerful and more fuel efficient than the resort’s existing machine, which is over 20 years old.
HIE will own the machine and lease it to mountain operator, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited (CMSL). CMSL employees will use it to keep slopes groomed with a mix of artificial snow from the snow factory machine and natural snow.
The vehicle will also include a passenger cab capable of transporting skiers and boarders to help them reach the higher slopes and access the surface lifts when there is no snow cover at the base station.
The purchase is part of wider investment at Cairngorm by CMSL and HIE to improve the resort’s overall attractiveness and reduce its carbon footprint.
They include refurbishment of the Day Lodge café and bar areas and upgrading the power supply on the mountain to enable snow cannons to run from mains electricity instead of diesel.
James Gibbs, HIE area manager, said:
“There is real momentum at Cairngorm, with the whole CMSL team working hard to continually improve facilities and customer service. The purchase of a new piste grooming vehicle is another progressive step for the resort and we look forward to hearing how it is improving conditions on the slopes.”
Susan Smith, interim chief executive at CMSL, said:
“We are delighted that HIE is making this investment. This new vehicle will ensure the best possible conditions on the slopes for skiers and snow boarders, while reducing our carbon footprint and running costs.”
CMSL will be releasing details of its winter operation plans later this week, aimed at keeping Cairngorm open on as many days and to as many people as possible while the funicular remains out of service.