General HIE news

Glencoe Ski Centre set to guarantee snow

Glencoe ski centre is set to offer a guaranteed opening and closing date for the ski season after securing funding for new snowmaking equipment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

HIE has awarded the operator, Glencoe Mountain Limited (GML) £140,000 towards the £350,000 costs of acquiring the equipment from Italian firm, TechnoAlpin.

HIE supported trials of the technology at three Scottish ski centres last season with positive results.

Having it in place permanently at Glencoe will guarantee a start date to the skiing season and will help maintain snow cover during periods when there is a lack of natural snow.

The snowmaking equipment will give continuous cover over part of the hill which will benefit the business and safeguard and generate employment.

The project is part of a wider programme by GML which includes the development of additional visitor accommodation, online ticketing and ski hire facilities which help to develop Glencoe as an all year-round attraction.

It will also enable the centre to guarantee skiing during the three key holiday periods of Christmas, half-term and Easter. This will help mitigate the impact that lack of natural snow can have on the company’s profitability and workforce.

Milder winters have had a direct impact on natural snow conditions at Glencoe, resulting in challenging conditions for GML and the company.

As with natural snow, the snow produced by the snow making system will be spread over the runs using the piste machines on site.  The manufactured snow is produced at a lower temperature than natural snow and when piled up, creates a frozen layer which helps to retain the snow.

HIE has worked with GML for nine years and has supported investments in plant, equipment, infrastructure, marketing, strategy development, and digital advice.

Alison Gainsford, HIE’s head of business growth, said: “Glencoe is a very popular skiing destination and an important part of Scotland’s wider ski industry and tourism sector which provides valuable rural employment.

“Last year’s trial of snow making technology at the centre was very successful, with very positive results. It will make a huge difference to customer confidence and visitor experience. Importantly it will also make the business more sustainable and provide job security for employees.

“Our investment means GML has been able to install the equipment sooner than would be the case otherwise and the facility is already up and running with snow being produced at the top of the hill.  I am delighted we are able to support this investment and look forward to seeing the benefits to the company and to its customers over this season.”

Andy Meldrum from GML, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be making snow even when it’s lashing down with rain knowing that for the first time ever in Scottish skiing we can guarantee what day we open (1st Dec) and what day we will close for the season (6th May).

“The value of this cannot be underestimated not only for our customers and the local economy as it will give visitors more confidence in planning trips and will provide huge benefits for our business and the local economy. We are extremely grateful to HIE and all our customers and local businesses who have helped make this possible.”

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