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Nevis sports resort gears up for staff redundancies

Mountain biking at Nevis Range.
Mountain biking at Nevis Range.

Job cuts are looming at Nevis Range as the Lochaber mountain biking and winter sports resort prepares for a restricted re-opening next month.

Chief executive Chris O’Brien said yesterday a redundancy consultation was under way at the centre, near Fort William, although it was not clear how many of its 84 staff would be affected.

Preparations are being made to open the resort on July 15, with a wide range of safety measures in place.

But, as part of cost-cutting measures, it will only operate from Wednesdays to Sundays, rather than seven days a week.

Mr O’Brien said the centre, which enjoyed the busiest summer in its 31-year history last year, faced a “very challenging picture” because of Covid-19.

He added: “We are going through the consultancy process at the moment and the number of redundancies is reducing because of some fantastic ideas from our team that we are enacting.

“It’s a totally open and transparent process and it’s really regrettable that we find ourselves here, but the finances give us no option.”

With its hugely popular annual World Cup mountain biking event cancelled and no foreign travellers or coach parties, Mr O’Brien expects May-September business at Nevis Range to be down 80% on previous years.

He added: “We get around 75% of our customers between May and September. Those visitors are made up of mountain biking, World Cup, tree adventure, coaches, foreign travel and UK domestic travel.”

Annual results just released by Companies House reveal a mixed bag for Nevis Range over the 12 months to the end of last October.

With poor snow cover and warm temperatures, the facility recorded its lowest number of skiers to date at 6,500.

But, boosted by 17,000 Chinese tourists and 2,500 visitors on the August Bank Holiday, its summer season was the most profitable to date.

The business slid into the red by £116,206 last year, compared with profits of £61,704 in 2017-18, with revenue falling to £3.6 million from £4m over the same period.

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