Snow-making machine to help skiing all winter
A north-east ski centre claims it has guaranteed a start date to its skiing season in early December after a £200,000 investment from Highland and Islands Enterprise.
The Lecht secured funding for new snow-making equipment that will maintain snow cover when there is a lack of wintry weather.
Operator, the Lecht Ski Company (LSC), now has a £520,000 snow factory machine thanks to HIE which put up more than £200,000 towards the cost.
The machine will boost the centre’s turnover by about £200,000, support 39 jobs and create a further 1.5 full-time equivalent posts.
It aims to provide snow at the centre from early December until mid-April and guarantee skiing during the three key holiday periods of Christmas, half-term and Easter. This will help mitigate any impact a lack of natural snow can have on the company’s profitability and its workforce.
Recent milder winters have led to challenging conditions at the Lecht.
Existing equipment moves snow around the hillside with equipment known as pistebashers. However, the machines struggle to maintain good skiing and snowboarding conditions during the milder winter spells.
HIE supported trials of the technology at three Scottish ski centres last season with positive results.
James McIntosh of LSC said: “As well as improving skiing conditions and reliability on the main slopes, this equipment is great for maintaining features such as jumps and rails for snowboarders – something that more and more customers are looking for.
“For the first time, we will be able to guarantee a start date for the season, and that there will be snow here during the key dates of Christmas, half term and Easter.”
Young skiers get expert tuition during a day out on the snow at the Lecht ski centre