Hopes ski slopes could open at weekend if snowfall continues

Skiing: Hopes for a busy weekend after 10cm snowfall.
Snow: There are hopes that slopes could open this weekend.© STV

Significant snowfall has raised hopes of the ski season opening this weekend.

Scotland’s largest skiing resort at Cairngorm had several inches fall overnight on Monday and it was still falling by lunch-time.

Ironically, three new snow cannons leased recently from abroad arrived to be greeted by the blizzards.

They will bring the total to four available for the snowsport operators, who suffered a poor season last year due to a lack of snow.

Operations manager Colin Matthew said: "Although last season was not the best we were able to take the opportunity to trial one of these guns in a number of areas of the hill and it performed extremely well, with the gun making technical snow for over 300 hours.

"Equipped with four of them, and with the right weather conditions, we will be able to undertake some serious snowmaking in different parts of the mountain, whether it be creating a base, topping up natural cover or restoring thinly covered and scoured areas.

“It should increase the number of days on which we are able to offer snowsports and improve the customer experience overall."

Sufficient snow had fallen to ensure 36-year-old snowsport website operator Alan Mackay was able to ski for the 37th consecutive month on the mountain range.

He said: "This summer I had to hike up to the summit to find a patch of snow suitable for me to maintain my record. But thankfully this fall means I don't have to walk so far to record November as a success. And the prospects are looking good for the season if the weathermen are to be believed."

The snow also meant a treat for three-year-old Riley Macfarlane and his six-year-old brother, Charlie, who were enjoying a week-end break in the Highlands.

They both set to work to build the resort's first snowman.

Engineer dad Ewan said: "We didn't expect to get any snow, so this was a bonus for us - and especially the boys who had all their winter clothes with them just in case."

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