Lift off for local ski centres with upgrade funds

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Deeside’s Glenshee Ski Centre and facilities at the Lecht are to benefit from grants to upgrade their existing infrastructure.

Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise are providing 75 per cent of the funding with the remainder coming from the ski centres.

The money will be used to replace and improve chair lifts and upgrade tow lifts.

Glenshee and Glencoe will be replacing existing chair lifts which will cost £2.474 million and £1.89 million respectively. The Lecht and Nevis Range will spend £456K and £707K on upgrades to their current tow lifts. Cairngorm Mountain Ltd has already upgraded its infrastructure with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing, who made the announcement on a visit to Glenshee Ski Centre, said: “The snowsports sector is very important for Scotland’s rural economy and is worth an estimated £30 million per year, supporting over 600 jobs.”

Graham McCabe, managing director at Glenshee Ltd, said the new lifts would further develop Glenshee’s snowsports experience by improving access to higher altitude snowfields. It is also hoped that they will help retain domestic skiers on Scotland’s slopes while encouraging more international snowsport enthusiasts to sample what Scottish skiing has to offer.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett welcomed the news.

She said: “This funding will give a real boost to both ski centres but I am particularly glad that Glenshee has at last been granted public funding after years of being the only ski centre in Scotland not to have done so.

“Both centres provide employment in fragile areas where opportunities are limited and so the funding is doubly welcome”