CairnGorm Mountain Ltd (CML) has applied for consent to trial the technology over two months from the end of November to the end of January.
Snowfactory can produce 45 tonnes of snow a day, which can be pumped and sprayed a distance of 200m. This could potentially make the snowsport season considerably longer and more reliable.
The technology includes a mobile cooling plant which connects to an electricity and water supply. Snow is made from small dry ice flakes after cooling water to freezing point. It is then pumped out through a snow outlet pipe.
If consent is granted it will be the first time the technology has been used at a ski resort in Scotland. During the proposed trial, Snowfactory will be used to form a beginners’ area.
HIE’s contribution is in recognition of the impact the technology could have on snowsport tourism and employment at CairnGorm.
Susan Smith, HIE’s head of business development, said: “This is a very exciting development for CairnGorm Mountain, which plays such an important role in underpinning the wider tourism sector in the Aviemore area.
“The technology looks set to offer skiers and snowboarders a guarantee of snow being available whenever they want to visit. For an outdoor business in Scotland, that could be a real game changer.”
The planned trial would be an opportunity to understand how the technology performs, review its suitability for the terrain and gather feedback from skiers and snowboarders. If it is successful, CML will explore introducing the technology on a permanent basis.
Adam Gough from CairnGorm Mountain Ltd explained: “This is really significant for CairnGorm Mountain. It is no secret that last season was poor in terms of snowfall and we simply weren’t able to open for snowsports as often as we would have liked. We have been in discussions with TechnoAlpin for a while and the company also welcomed us for a site visit earlier this year so that we could see the technology in action. Being able to trial the Snowfactory for two months is crucial to understand whether this is a viable option for the resort in the long term. If successful then we believe it will noticeably enhance the snowsports experience at CairnGorm Mountain.”
Wolfgang Hanni from TechnoAlpin said: “We’re really excited about having the chance to showcase the Snowfactory technology at CairnGorm Mountain – since we launched the first Snowfactory three years ago, we now have more than 20 units installed in 11 different countries but this is the first time it’s been tested in the UK. We have been working with CairnGorm Mountain over the last couple of years to explore different ways we can help to improve their snow making capabilities, and really feel that this technology will make dramatic improvements to Scottish Skiing.”
Cairngorm is Scotland’s biggest snowsports destination and 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 has been 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.