Controversy over Cairngorm ski lift

15th July 2016, by Abi Butcher

The top of Cairngorm mountains are highly protected

The top of Cairngorm mountains are highly protected

The company that owns Cairngorm ski resort in Scotland has been reprimanded for doing work to improve facilities for skiers without planning consent.

Natural Retreats, which operates Cairngorm ski resort near Aviemore, has come under fire from the Cairngorm National Park Authority (CNPA) for works carried out to replace the Shieling ski tow in Coire Cas.

Natural Retreats has been ordered to submit a retrospective planning application for two unauthorised developments — re-engineering a slope and creating an access track for the lift.

The tops of Cairngorm mountains are one of the most highly protected areas in Scotland, and the introduction of any new facilities for skiers has historically drawn great controversy — in particular the funicular railway.

Last season, skiing and snowboarding in Scotland generated almost £21million for the Scottins and UK economy, despite being operations for significantly fewer days than in the previous two years due to bad weather.

The five mountain ski areas opened for just 404 over 2015/16, as opposed to 463 and 441 in previous years. Ski-Scotland said an estimated that £16.8m was spent in local businesses from hotels and guest houses to shops, restaurants and filing stations, with a further £4.1m going to the ski resorts.

Chair of Ski-Scotland Heather Negus said: “We are delighted with these figures. Although they are lower than last season, they are much better than anticipated, given the late start to the season.

“Although this season was short, we found that on average across the resorts there were more skiers each day – 514 per day in 2016 compared to only 497 for season 2014-15.”

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