Page last updated at 00:41 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Nevis Range resort celebrates 20th birthday

The top ski station at the Nevis Range; pic courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland
The Nevis Range resort is one of the main attractions near Fort William

The Nevis Range mountain resort has reopened for the winter season exactly 20 years after it first opened.

Originally operating as a ski resort, the business, near Fort William, has grown and diversified and contributes significantly to the Highland economy.

One of the key attractions at the resort is the mountain gondola, the only one of its kind in Britain.

Since opening on 19 December 1989, Nevis Range has welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors.

The mountain gondola was originally constructed on the slopes of Aonach Mor as a way to transport skiers to the pistes.

But it became a highly acclaimed draw in its own right, attracting about 200,000 visitors annually.

Expanding business

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, the resort will be offering half price gondola trips alongside an exhibition of photos and memorabilia from the company's 20-year history.

In early 2000, as part of the diversification of the mountain resort into an all-year-round destination, the business created a downhill mountain bike track, that has hosted seven Mountain Bike World Cups and in 2007 hosted the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.

We have our sights set firmly on the future and are working to improve existing facilities
Marian Austin
Nevis Range

Marian Austin, spokeswoman for Nevis Range, said: "The past 20 years has been both exciting and challenging.

"We can't pretend that the ski industry has been an easy ride, but after 20 years, we're still in business, and we still offer winter skiing and snowboarding as well as many other activities.

''Today, we continue to employ some staff members who have been here since the beginning."

Ms Austin said there were plans to keep developing the business.

"We have our sights set firmly on the future and are working to improve existing facilities," she added.

"We also have ambitious expansion plans that will add even more activities for our visitors over the next couple of years."

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