MOUNTAIN biking is set to help CairnGorm Mountain reach bigger profits as latest figures reveal that turnover at the ski resort has continued to rise on the back of another good winter.
Accounts released by Companies House show that the resort had more than 100,000 visitors and achieved a turnover of £5.1 million in the year to March 27, compared with £4.8 million in the previous 12 months.
The firm’s pre-tax profits dropped to £440,179 in its latest financial year, however, compared with £663,152 in the previous period.
A spokesman for CairnGorm Mountain said they were pleased to have had another successful financial year.
He said: "The company is looking forward to progressing the feasibility study into the possibility of developing a mountain biking park which would complement the other activities on the mountain and increase its year-round appeal."
The spokesman added that this summer the Walk@The Top – ranger led guided walks from the Ptarmgian to the summit of Cairn Gorm – had proved increasingly popular with visitors.
The resort welcomed 121,420 skiers and snowboarders between November 13 last year and the last day of the ski season on April 25.
They said that they had used some of their profits last year to step up maintenance on ageing facilities.
CairnGorm Mountain spent £425,000 repairing tows and buildings, compared with £258,000 in the previous 12 months. Catering made up more than £1 million of last year’s turnover.
Earlier this year, the resort hailed the winter season as a success and said it had been open for 142 days of skiing between November last year and April.
The previous winter, the resort welcomed 145,007 snowsports enthusiasts over 147 days.
Tourism and Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing, local MSP for Inverness and Nairn, including Strathspey, has welcomed the figures.
He said: "I am delighted that once again CairnGorm Mountain has had a successful season. To increase turnover and return substantial profits is great news.
"It will enable investment in the tows and other infrastructure, and it proves that snow sports in Scotland are alive and kicking."
He added: "I would congratulate the whole of the workforce on the mountain and hope that they have another successful season this year."
The heavy snowfall of the last two winters has taken the company into the black, compared with a loss of £42,728 in the previous financial year.
The company has said that they have no intention of rushing into any major investment in skiing because of the threat that climate change continues to pose to the industry.
However, they intend to reopen and extend the lower Coire na Ciste chairlift, which has been closed to the public for around nine years as part of the new plans, and would benefit skiers and snowboarders as well as mountain bikers.
The project would include refurbishing and extending the lower Ciste na Ciste chairlift; creating a novice mountain biking route and features park at the bottom of the lower ciste and a zip-wire ride, as well as building an energy-efficient new reception building on the existing Ciste site.