Snowsports contribute £31million to Scottish economy

Skiers and snowboarders at The Lecht
Skiers and snowboarders at The Lecht

Snow sports in Scotland contributed almost £31 million to the economy during the 2017/18 ski-season, new figures have revealed.

Analysis conducted by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) found that there were almost a quarter of a million “skier days” last winter.

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That led to £30,892,375 being injected into the Scottish economy by winter sports enthusiasts.

The total number of skier days (247,139) was still some way short of the 631,000 skier days recorded in 1991, but it was an increase on the 10-year average to 2010 (of less than 200,000).

It was also a slight increase on the most recent five year average of 242,368 skier days.

The figures were compiled by SPICE using data obtained by Visit Scotland.

It is estimated that for every £1 spent on the Scottish slopes, a further £4 is spent in the areas around Cairngorm, Nevis Range, the Lecht, Glencoe and Glenshee.

Last month Scotland’s winter sports industry was dealt a blow when CairnGorm Mountain Ltd went into administration.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which leases the centre to CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, has said it is confident that the resort will remain open.

The company went into administration following the closure of the Cairngorm funicular, the only ski-lift of its type in the country.

The Scottish Government, through HIE and Scottish Enterprise, has provided over £5.5 million in support to Scottish ski centres over the past three years to upgrade infrastructure.

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Scotland’s great outdoors is a huge draw for visitors and sporting enthusiasts, especially over the winter months. Just a few years ago, there was a bit of a doom and gloom outlook for Scottish ski-ing.

But through a determined effort, we’ve managed to reverse that trend and boost the numbers enjoying the slopes. The economic impact of that has been significant with a £31m boost to our economy from snow sports last year, which is about £6m more than was projected.

“While Cairngorm Mountain in my constituency is facing challenges, everyone is working to keep it open for business – it’s so important for the Highland economy to see snow sports continue there for many more winters to come.”