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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 12:10 GMT
Poor season for Scots ski resorts
Nevis Range (Pic: Steven McKenna)
Despite the concerns the season started early at the Nevis Range
Scottish ski resorts are on the brink of suffering one of their worst seasons of recent years.

A lack of snow and the presence of high winds have been blamed for keeping skiers and snowboarders off the slopes.

The resorts have also not had the heavy snow they benefited from at the beginning of March last year.

CairnGorm Mountain said its season was now entering a "make or break period". However, snow has been forecast for the weekend and next week.

Graham McCabe, managing director of Glenshee, said some of the best snow was expected after Monday and he hoped this would give the resort a decent run into Easter.

However, he conceded: "It's not gone very well at all. We were slightly ahead of last year until February.

"The big turn around last year came on the first and second of March. That was a big weekend, while this year, after last weekend, there has been no skiing.

"It has been a poor season - one of the worst in recent years - 1992 was the last time it was this bad."

If there is enough snow on the deck then you can ride it out every time you come into a mild spell
Graham McCabe, Glenshee

Mr McCabe said there has not been adequate depths of snow for the covering to survive warmer weather.

He said: "If there is enough snow on the deck then you can ride it out every time you come into a mild spell."

Colin Kirkwood, of CairnGorm Mountain, said high winds had been a problem when there was enough snow for skiing.

Severe winds hampered the operation of the tows and funicular railway.

He said: "There was skiing last weekend on Saturday when we had 1,300 on the mountain, but on Sunday we couldn't open because of the wind."

Conditions at the resort have allowed Exercise Snow Lion, a Territorial Army ski and snowboarding championships, to go ahead this week.

There was also "good snow" in the Ptarmigan Bowl where skiing was expected until the end of the season.

Overall, Mr Kirkwood, said the season was "slightly behind" last year's and the period up to the end of April and start of May will be "make or break".

Nevis Range also said it has been one of poorest seasons, mirroring those being experienced by resorts worldwide.

Expert skiers

There was snow higher up the slopes suited to intermediate and expert skiers and on the back corries.

However, January had been a good month with more than 4,500 skiers compared to 186 people the same time last year.

This meant the season started on 2 January, which was earlier than last year.

Last March, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes at the Cairn Gorm, Glenshee, Lecht, Nevis and Glencoe ranges over several days.


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