There is something magical about skiing in Scotland, perhaps the views, the people or how challenging it can be sometimes. But having visited ski resorts all over Europe, when Scottish conditions are good, they are one of the best!
There are five main outdoor ski resorts in Scotland are; Glencoe, Nevis Range, Glenshee, Cairngorms, and the Lecth. Glencoe ski resort was the first ski resort to open in the Highlands in 1956. The firm stated that the 2016/2017 winter season was the worst winter in the resort’s history as only 32 days were open to the public to ski, as a result of the poor weather conditions. The average snow days ranges from 100 to 120 days. These resorts are mainly visited on a daily basis or short breaks, rather than long holiday weeks such as resorts in France or Spain. (TRC 2011)
According to TRC (2011), the weather conditions are very unreliable in Scotland and that causes customers to not visit the resorts for more than a day. With this in mind, these five firms find it challenging to invest in new equipment or extending any of the facilities, as it is difficult to plan just relying on the unpredictable Scottish weather. Thorne (2015) wrote that, snow in Scotland may be good one day and gone the next and that some winters the snow cover is either little or none existing. Therefore, it is not possible to book a season pass months in advance without taking this into consideration.
The highest peak of ski visitors was in 1991 with 631,000, the graph below illustrates the five resorts performance since 2004. It can be seen that, in 2007 due to it being a poor snow season, the total skiers were 79,046. However, the lowest season recorded was 2017 with only 53,669 skiers attended the five resorts. (Thorne 2018).
Moreover, from 2014 to 2018 every ski resort performed better except, The Cairngorm compared to the previous 9 years. TRC (2011) suggested that not only does climate change lead to a decreased in skiers numbers but as a result of the financial crisis not enough young people have been participating in the sport and with cheaper ski holidays in Europe being extremely accessible, the Scottish resorts have impacted greatly.
The image below (TRC 2011) shows the correlation between poor winter seasons and skier days in lower and upper piste. Conditions are colder upper mountain which is anything over 300ft. Therefore, there is more snow cover. It is clear that more snow means more ski passes sold. For example, if you compare season 2007, snow depth in lower piste with 12cm per week, only 79,046 visitors that season ski. Nonetheless, the 2010 years shows one of the strongest seasons in years as the average snow depth lower piste per week was 32cm and upper 80cm. This resulted in the best ski season over the last 14 years with 374,582.
We wonder how is the 18/19 season is going to be like?
In the mean time....Let's continue to support the Scottish Ski Resorts!
List of References
Thorne, P. (2018). 17-18 was Best Season For 5 Winters in Scotland | InTheSnow. [online] InTheSnow. Available at: https://www.inthesnow.com/17-18-was-best-season-for-5-winters-in-scotland/ [Accessed 18 Aug. 2018].
Thorne, P. (2015). Skiing in Scotland - Where and how to Ski in Scotland. [online] InTheSnow. Available at: https://www.inthesnow.com/skiing-in-scotland/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2018].
TRC (2011) [ebook] Available at: http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/economic-reports-and-research/?year=2011 [Accessed 1 Aug. 2018].