"Santa arrived early for Scotland's ski areas," said Chair of ski-scotland Heather Negus, "bringing us excellent snow to give us our best-ever early start to the ski season. CairnGorm has already had more than 10% of its target number snowsports customers for the whole year, while Nevis Range opened earlier than ever before, for the first two weekends in December, and is now open daily, along with CairnGorm, Glenshee and The Lecht. And it's great news that Glencoe is also opening some intermediate and advanced runs."
All the ski areas plan to open every day over the festive break, except on Christmas Day itself so skiers and boarders can work off all the excesses of turkey and Christmas pud from Boxing Day and even work off their hangover on New Year's Day itself. Glencoe will open tomorrow, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day for expert and intermediate skiers only, as no beginners areas can yet be opened.
Media coverage of chaotic travel conditions due to snow in England and central and southern Scotland has led skiers to believe that it's difficult to access the slopes.
"In fact, access is good to all ski areas," Heather added. "Although a couple of high roads were closed by drifting snow for a time, conditions are now much more settled and in fact many of our ski area access roads are currently better cleared and gritted than main roads farther south. So far, almost 33,000 skiers have managed to reach the four ski areas which have been open, so you can tell the roads are not that bad! Of course, we still advise skiers to check both snow conditions and road status before setting off, which can be easily done on the official website www.ski-scotland.com where live webcam images also show conditions as they really are."
Last winter's ski season 2009-10 was the best since 1995-6, with a total of 374,789 "skier days" across the five mountain ski areas.