A Moray ski centre has guaranteed a start date to their skiing season in early December following a £200,000 investment from Highland and Islands Enterprise.
The Lecht secured funding to purchase new snow-making equipment that will help maintain snow cover during periods when there is a lack of wintry weather.
Operators of the centre, the Lecht Ski Company (LSC) has acquired a snow factory machine worth £520,000 with help from HIE which provided more than £200,000 towards the cost.
The machine will boost its turnover by about £200,000, support 39 jobs and create a further 1.5 full-time equivalent posts.
It will guarantee snow at the centre from early December until mid April and will also enable them to guarantee skiing during the three key holiday periods of Christmas, half-term and Easter which will help mitigate the impact that the lack of natural snow can have on the company’s profitability and workforce.
Milder winters have had a direct impact on natural snow conditions at the Lecht which results in challenging conditions.
Existing equipment moves snow around the hillside with equipment known as ‘Piste – bashers’.
However, the machines struggle to maintain good skiing and snowboarding conditions during these mild winter spells.
HIE has supported trials of the technology at three Scottish ski centres last season with positive results.
James McIntosh of LSC said: “As well as improving skiing conditions and reliability on the main slopes, this equipment is great for maintaining features such as jumps and rails for snowboarders; something that more and more customers are looking for.
“For the first time, we will be able to guarantee a start date for the season, and that there will be snow here during the key dates of Christmas, half term and Easter.”