Highlands & Islands

Pressure ramped up in Cairngorms ski resort takeover bid

Cairngorm funicular Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Cairngorm Mountain resort includes a funicular railway

Three groups have joined forces to push forward a planned community takeover of the Cairngorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore.

Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust, Cairngorm Mountain Trust and Aviemore Business Association have agreed to work together on the bid.

They want more investment and visitor facilities at the site.

The centre and its funicular railway are owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The public body said it welcomed the interest from the various community organisations and shared their ambitions to see a positive outcome for the resort.

In 2017, Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust expressed frustration with the running of Cairngorm Mountain.

Since then, a company operating the centre on HIE's behalf collapsed and the resort's funicular railway was closed because of structural problems. The railway has not operated for more than a year.

Mike Gale, of Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust, said he hoped other local organisations would become involved in the community bid.

He said the three groups already working together were calling on HIE to seriously consider a buyout, adding that local businesses' patience was running out.

Mr Gale told BBC Radio Scotland: "HIE needs to step up to the plate and start working with us, or we will be in a position where we walk away, sick of wasting our time."

Working hard

Last month, HIE said the snowsports centre could get a new vehicle to help skiers and snowboarders reach higher slopes this winter.

Uplift at the resort has been limited by the closure of the site's funicular railway due to structural problems.

HIE said it planned to invest £220,000 in a new piste grooming machine.

The vehicle would have a cab for carrying passengers.

The machine could then be used to transport small groups of skiers and snowboarders at a time to higher slopes and to access ski lifts when there was no snow cover at lower levels.

HIE also said staff at the resort's operator, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited (CMSL), were working hard to prepare for the new winter season.

The funicular railway has been closed since last September.

HIE has said the potential cost of repairing it has been estimated at £10m, while dismantling the structure could run to more than £13.3m.

The Scottish government will be asked to make a decision on the repairs.

HIE said it expected to have the business case for this work to be ready to submit to the government next month.

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