Ambitious plans for a multi-purpose snowsports and activity centre in the heart of Inverness have been unveiled.
The multi-million pound development would replace part of the“vacant and derelict” Torvean Quarry which has remained untouched since work on the land ceased back in 1989.
The elaborate project has been proposed by Inverness Snowsports Centre Association and is estimated to cost in the region of £3-5million to complete.
Other activities are also in the pipeline, including tubing, high ropes, a zip-wire course and a series of mountain biking trails.
The all-year-round venue is planned to feature a number of dry slopes for beginners to experts, alongside a purpose-built freestyle slope.
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Avid skier and project manager Helen Morgan said: “What we would want ideally is one slope that meets all the regulations and criteria to become a competition slalom slope.
“There is only one other in Scotland and that’s at Hillend so we want to make sure we have got enough length and the right angle to be able to hold GB level slaloms there and that’s going to go down the middle of the main area.
“To make it attractive, we also want to have a chairlift to take people to the top, which would not just be for skiers and boarders, but members of the public and mountain bikers could use it as well.
“It’s a multi-activity place. It’s not just going to be for skiers and boarders.”
A visitor centre would also be constructed on the site incorporating a café and a series of sporting retailers.
Miss Morgan, 55, said the aim was to create an inclusive environment for individuals of all capabilities.
She said: “One of the things we really want to concentrate on is making sure that all of the skiing stuff and the tubing is accessible to people with disabilities so that sit-skies can go on all of the slopes.
“The chairlift and any drag lifts that we have are all compatible with sit-skiers because I am aware of the fact that Cairngorm – because I worked there in the past – that it’s only the T-bars that sit-skiers can go on as the other lifts aren’t suitable because they go off too fast and are not relevant for sit skies.”
“We want to make sure it’s accessible to everyone and as affordable as possible. What we are aware of is skiing and snowboarding is very much a middle-class hobby but we want to be able to get the children of Inverness to be able to have a go at it.”
The organisation have launched a Just Giving page aimed at raising £20,000 towards the completion of a number of studies in preparation to lodge a formal planning application.
Inverness West councillor Bill Boyd welcomed the proposed development, saying: “This is an exciting possibility and we are hoping in Inverness West that this will come to fruition.
“It’s a marvellous vision for the area. It would also become a resource for local schools and other clubs as well.”