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Ski season: Travel restrictions mean a slow start for Scotland’s skiing season, with only two resorts opening

The Scottish Ski season starts on Saturday.

The ski season is due to kick off in Scotland this weekend, with snow sports lovers usually flocking to the north and north-east slopes in their thousands.

However, 2020 is a year like no other, with the country’s five main ski areas all suffering due to Covid.

Only two will be open this weekend for skiers, and even then, travel restrictions mean only local people will be able to go.

Cairngorm Mountain resort

Cairngorm Mountain near Aviemore is open, with officials there expecting a very busy festive period.

However, they have put a ban on anyone travelling to the resort from high-level regions.

That means if you live in a Level 3 or Level 4 area, it is illegal for you to visit Cairngorm Mountain this weekend.

Scottish Government guidance states that people should not be moving between high levels.

Aviemore and Cairngorm are in Level 1 of the tiered system.

You are also not allowed to travel to the ski resort from the rest of the UK.

Susan Smith

Susan Smith, Interim Chief Executive, added: ” If you are planning to travel to Cairngorm Mountain, you need to understand the travel restrictions in place in Scotland and in Local Authority areas.

“If you deviate from the rules, then you are breaking Scottish Law. It is your responsibility to be aware of travel restrictions.

“The relaxation in restrictions for five days during the festive period is for visiting family and does not apply to tourist and leisure activities.

“Under current Scottish Government travel conditions, unless you have a specific justification for travel you must not travel between Scotland and England, Northern Ireland, Wales, County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Jersey.

“If you live in a level 3 or 4 Local Authority area you must, by Scottish Law, remain in that area unless you have a specific justification.

“This applies to people who live in Scotland; and those who live outwith Scotland, who may be thinking about travelling for a skiing/snowboarding vacation.

“We want our customers to abide by the law and help keep our winter snow sports season safe.”

Glenshee Ski Centre .

Glenshee ski resort in Aberdeenshire is the biggest one of its kind in Scotland and will be open this weekend.

However, it will be restricted to just people from Aberdeenshire as the local authority area is moving into Level 3 tomorrow.

Scottish Government guidance means you cannot travel outwith or into a tier-three area, which means Glenshee will only be for local people for the foreseeable future.

In a statement on social media, the resort published their new rules for opening on Saturday:

•Where masks/buffs indoors & in queues
•Stay 2 metres apart or with your bubble.
•Wear gloves.
•Send one person to pick up tickets or food for you. •Do not come if you or anyone you stay with or care for has Covid symptoms.
•Check Scottish travel guidelines before setting out.

Mid Summer skiing in Glencoe 2018.

Glencoe will not be open at all for skiers this weekend but will be open for sledging.

This is due to them not having enough man-made snow for their slopes as their snow factory developed a fault last weekend.

Glencoe is in a Level 1 region, meaning only residents from Level 1 and 2 can attend.

In a statement on their social media, they said they hoped to be open for skiing as soon as possible:

“Glencoe is currently open daily for sledging on its 70m Snowfactory sledging slope.

“Unfortunately we don’t have enough man-made snow to open for skiing this weekend.

“Our Snowfactory developed a fault last Friday and is only being repaired today so we are a little behind where we expected to be.

“The good news is from Saturday onwards it looks like there is some decent snow in the forecast.”

The Lecht
The Lecht Ski Centre.

The Lecht will also be closed this weekend due to bad weather forecast.

Based in Strathdon, it will only be open to residents of Level 1 and 2 regions.

In a statement on social media, the ski centre revealed that heavy rain forecasted would potentially spoil all the snow they have produced.

It read:  “Due to the continued mild weather and heavy rain in the forecast. We have taken the decision not to open this weekend.

“We apologise for any for any upset this may cause but we don’t want to spread out the snow we have managed to produce and watch it wash away.

“Thank you for your continued support and understanding.”

Nevis Range
Nevis Range

Nevis Range in Fort William announced in October that they had lost £1m due to the Covid pandemic and would not be opening for the start of the ski season.

However, they hoped to reopen at some point next year, depending on travel restrictions and weather conditions.

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