Snow-mak­ing ma­chine to help ski­ing all win­ter

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

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

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