For the first time in many years, FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) races will take place in the Scottish mountains. "FIS competitions used to take place on a regular basis in Scotland", said Chair of ski-scotland Heather Negus, "but with marginal conditions, organisers of these races and other events moved them overseas. However, with great snow again this winter, arguably better than last winter's outstanding conditions, confidence, competitions and events have returned to the Scottish ski areas."
The Scottish FIS races take place this weekend and North East FIS will take place on 16 & 17 April, both at CairnGorm Mountain. Also this weekend are the Scottish Snowcross Championships at Glenshee, with the Scottish Masters Championships, also at Glenshee, the following weekend. At the other end of the scale, the same weekend, 12 & 13 March, there are the North East Children's Championships at The Lecht and The Ski Club of Great Britain and Scott Skis are offering Ski Club Leading and ski testing at Glenshee on the 12th and CairnGorm on the 13th of March.
Added to this, each ski area also organises its own events, including the recent speed dating at Nevis Range and Glencoe (where they're still getting emails from love-stuck skiers!) and future events including the world record kiltie skiing at CairnGorm and the Freestyle Jam in Glencoe's newly-opened Terrain Park, both on 5th March. Glencoe is also hosting a charity ski in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, with skiers and snowboarders sponsored to ride the height of Ben Nevis, Mont Blanc or even Mount Everest, and a Cross Country Scandinavian-style endurance event with an expected 30 - 40 participants skiing as many laps as they can in 4 hours. Snowsport Scotland, the sport's governing body, is also progressing its "Highlander Slopestyle"
freestyle ski and snowboard series of competitions which started on Scotland's dry slopes, then progressed to indoor real snow at SNO!zone Scotland in Glasgow and are now heading into the mountains.
"Although these events all add an extra buzz to the ski area on the day, the rest of the pistes are still open for skiers and boarders," continued Heather. "So they can have a great day out in the fresh air of the Scottish Highlands and enjoy watching all or part of these events if they want to.
The Snowcross is likely to be particularly exciting - that's what captured the British public's imagination when they saw the event on TV last year from the Winter Olympics. It's a real adrenalin charge - even for spectators - where skiers and boarders go head-to-head along a course consisting of man-made and natural rollers, jumps, kickers and banked turns, all at high speed."