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Misfiring tech hits learners' ski slopes

By Gavin Musgrove

Cairngorm Mountain, Snowfactory, Snow
Cairngorm Mountain, Snowfactory, Snow

SNOWSPORTS are not being offered at Cairngorm Mountain until further notice – presumably heralded by the on-set of snow.

Enthusiasts have not given up hope there might be snowboarding and skiing to be had yet with mid-range forecasts of blizzards for early March.

The situation at the resort has not been helped by the Snowfactory – brought in as part of £1 million investment to provide guaranteed snow – has been misfiring.

No sooner had the Strathy confirmed a week ago that it had restarted making snow then it was out of action again. There had been hopes last Wednesday that a permanent fix had been found.

But within 48 hours, it was off again.

Ross Harris, interim chief executive at Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd said: "As the unprecedented warmer temperatures arrived last week, along with high winds, the snow cover rapidly reduced until we were left with only the beginners area in the lower section.

"We took the decision to close our snow sports offering until further notice. It is extremely disappointing for all of Scotland's ski resorts to be experiencing this at such a prime time in the season. We're at the mercy of the weather and just have to hope that a natural cold snap returns.

"We are also in ongoing discussions with the Snowfactory manufacturer to address the technical issues that have affected performance."

A spokesman for resort owners Highlands and Islands said: "The Snowfactory had been started up again but the issues were encountered after it had been running overnight."

The Snowfactory had been out of action for a week previously hitting half-term trade at the ski resort.

It had been hoped a fix had been provided by engineers from Italian-based manufacturers TechoAlpin to allow skiing on the lower learner slopes by the Base Station to resume even in this milder weather.

Fine sand in the water has been settling on the inside of the ice-makers and preventing the production of snow.

A special filter was fitted by appears not to have solved the problems.

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