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Ski season gets under way on Cairngorms as Nevis Range gears up for 30th season

Local snow boarders and brothers Jamie  and Angus Trinder from Aviemore use the rail to get air. Picture by Jason Hedges
Local snow boarders and brothers Jamie and Angus Trinder from Aviemore use the rail to get air. Picture by Jason Hedges

Scores of winter sports enthusiasts turned out for the launch of this year’s season at Cairngorm Mountains at the weekend.

It is the first time the resort has had an official opening day after resort operators drafted in a snow factory to ensure there is enough of the white stuff to keep skiers and snowboarders content in the coming weeks.

The machine has been creating 96 tonnes of artificial snow every day since the end of October.

Sebastian and Anna-Lena Artus meet Santa and the reindeer Picture by Jason Hedges

There was fun for all the family, with Disney’s Frozen broadcast at the base station for young members as well as visits from the Cairngorm reindeer, Spud the Piper and even Santa himself.

As the resort’s funicular remains out of action, bosses have made available nine surface lifts to enable around 1,000 visitors a day to access the slopes when conditions allow.

Susan Smith, interim chief executive, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the way the whole community came out to support us.

“Staff have worked tirelessly to get us to our set target of opening on December 7 and have produced around 3000 tonnes of man-made quality snow.

“It really was a great atmosphere and a real fun day on the mountain.”

One daredevil, Julia from Elgin, takes to the slopes to test out her skiing skills. Picture by Jason Hedges

As the fun at one ski centre begins for another season, over in Lochaber, Nevis Range is putting in place the final touches for its 30th season.

On December 21, hundreds are expected to flock to the outdoor centre to take part in some skiing, snowboarding or even just to ride on the gondola – all of which will be available at 1989 prices.

Tickets, which must be purchased by noon on December 20, will be set at £3.50 for a Gondola day ticket, with a full day’s snowsports ticket costing just £12.50 – a saving of £23.

Celebrations will continue once the darkness has crept in with Celtic fire dancers and music from A’hooligan and The Gary Innes Band accompanying talks from legends of the resort, alongside the serving of local food and drink from a heated marquee next to the Gondola Base Station.

Lochaber born musician Gary Innes and his band will perform at the evenings celebrations at Nevis Range

Nevis Range chief executive Chris O’Brien is hoping a large crowd will gather for the 30th anniversary celebrations.

A free shuttle service to transport revellers from Fort William and Corpach is to be put on with the first 50 to attend the evening party receiving a special Nevis Range give away.

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