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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Snowflakes bring hope for skiers
Helen Rennie on CairnGorm mountain in the area known as Marquis Wells
A reader enjoys the first snow of the year in the Cairngorms
Scotland's ski resorts believe they could be in for a bumper year after the first snow flakes began to fall on their slopes.

The industry said the unseasonable flurries in the Cairngorms could be an indication that a big freeze is on its way this winter.

Ski centres across the Highlands suffered one of their worst ever seasons last year.

The Met Office said this winter is set to be colder than previous years.

[Snow] was the last thing we were expecting when we came on holiday in September
Jan Measures

Colin Kirkwood, of CairnGorm Mountain, said he had high hopes that skiers and snowboarders would be flocking back to the mountains after the unusually warm winters of the last 10 years

He added: "It is unseasonably early this year. It is usually October before we get to see any kind of covering. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come."

Holidaymaker Jan Measures, enjoying a trip to the Highlands from her home in Wakefield, was one of the first to take a stroll in the autumn snow.

She took her terrier Gemma to the top of the Cairngorms, where there was about two inches of snow.

'Noticeably colder'

Mrs Measures said: "It was the last thing we were expecting when we came on holiday in September.

"But it's great. Gemma is loving the snow. It was an unexpected treat."

A Met Office spokesman said: "Most of the winters in the last 10 years have been relatively mild, with last winter being the second warmest on record.

"We expect it to be noticeably colder than last year."

Poor season for Scots ski resorts
07 Mar 07 |  Scotland
In pictures: Ski resort
07 Mar 07 |  In Pictures
Call against taking down ski tows
06 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Thousands of skiers hit slopes
18 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Skiers revel in winter wonderland
02 Mar 06 |  Scotland

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