Inverness-based Gavin MacKay and Ben Thorburn for example, are part-time professional freeride skiers who enjoy pushing themselves to the limit, dropping (off) cliffs and following near-vertical fall lines where they've never skied before. Gavin spends around six weeks every winter in the Alps, North America and Japan, where his adventures with Ben are captured on camera for magazines and ski films.
However, a recent trip to the French Alps proved extremely disappointing and they returned early to take advantage of amazing snow conditions at Nevis Range.
"We were plagued by high winds, flat light, mild temperatures and even rain below 3,000m in Avoriaz, Zinal and other resorts," explained Gavin, "so we started looking online to see what was happening elsewhere, and discovered that Scotland was being treated to 70cms of powder snow. It was the oddest feeling researching Scottish weather conditions and then booking our flights back to Scotland a week early!"
They headed straight for Nevis Range, where it was clear they'd made the right choice. The back corries were in great condition, and, with the Braveheart Chair operating, were even accessible by lift. "In no time, we were doing laps off the back of the mountain in fresh snow that was better than anything we'd found in 10 days of road-tripping around Europe," continued Gavin. "With Scotland having such a good winter, I'm genuinely worried about considering going back to the Alps - what a dilemma!"
On hearing this, Chair of Ski-Scotland Heather Negus said, "these stories are pretty typical of what we're hearing from our customers. We've never tried to compete with the Alps or the Rockies, but this year many skiers are comparing us favourably, particularly on price, convenience and of course good conditions. Although spring may have sprung in the south and at low level, all the Scottish ski areas still have great skiing on spring snow, with more snow still falling on high ground when there's rain at sea level. We expect to have snow right through April and into May, so don't pack away your ski boots yet!"