GB ski star backs investment in snow-making at Scottish resorts
Team GB slalom star Charlie Guest has said that she would love to train regularly in Scotland but the unpredictability of snow denies her the chance writes Andrew Gate.
The long-term future of Scotland’s ski industry has been cast into doubt over the last few years due to climate change.
A report from the Climate Coalition claims that the industry could collapse within as little as 50 years as winter temperatures become too mild for regular snowfall.
Guest, 25, a member of Team GB’s Winter Olympic squad for the 2018 Pyeongchang games is based in Nethy Bridge.
But she trains in Austria during the winter and New Zealand during the British summertime.
Guest says that she’d ‘love’ to train back in her home country if the chance arose.
“The conditions in Scotland don’t really lend themselves to be able to train properly,” said Guest.
“When I was younger, I only skied in Scotland until I was 11 years old, that’s where I did everything but now the conditions aren’t good enough and the whole infrastructure isn’t quite there yet.
“We don’t have the reliability of the snow so we can’t actually plan on having any camps back here because you just don’t know whether there’ll be any snow so it’s easier to stay out in Europe.
“This past season was absolutely awful.
“It’s great getting to travel the world and I love going down to New Zealand but It would be really cool to do some training weeks back in Scotland and it’s something that if the opportunity was there, I’d love to do.”
Scotland’s biggest resorts are now using snow machines - most notably SnowFactories - to help keep their runs open for longer.
Guest has said they are a welcome addition to resorts and could help increase participation in skiing, benefiting the industry in the long-run.
“It’s something that can be quite an exciting prospect for the future, especially for end of season training around Spring.
"It’s still relatively cold compared to central Europe, so I think the snow can hold on for a bit longer in Scotland and if we had the capability of making it there and then, we could potentially get some training camps going.
“I know for example for the Zagreb World Cup in Croatia, they have two SnowFactories there and I think that 70% of the snow for that race has come from them in the past.
“They’ve been absolutely vital to getting that race going. It’s proven that the snow is good and it works.
"Now in Scotland we’ve got the first steps in making that happen over the next few years.
“I’d say that the snow guns and artificial snow making facilities will help increase participation because there’ll be more reliable snow.
"People can plan to go up the Cairngorms, the Lecht or Glenshee for a weekend and they know there’ll be snow there.
“If we can get that infrastructure in place, more kids will be able to take up snow sports.
"And I think that especially for Freestyle, Park and Pipe and Nordic disciplines as well it’ll help increase child participation.”