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Glencoe reopens, and the new owners reveal their plans

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The new owners of the Glencoe lift company, Neil Tait and David Campbell, have reopened for the summer, hired seven staff and revealed plans to make the place a profitable year-round tourist attraction.

Here are reports from The Scotsman and this is north Scotland.

It all sounds very promising, especially being in the hands of people who love the place (which isn't hard).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great news, I've never been to Glencoe myself but it would be a tragedy if one of Scotland's major ski areas was to never open again.

The real worry at the moment though is that Scotland has had yet another disappointing season for snow. Sad
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yes that is good news - I haven't skied Glencoe since I was a kid but I vividly remember the Flypaper as one of the first really steep runs I ever skied.
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The first time I saw the flypaper, many years ago, was going over the edge head first at snow level. I'd caught an edge on a lump of ice as I meant to stop to look over. It's by far the fastest I've got down it !
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
This is excellent news indeed.
In fact I think Glencoe should be the location for a snowheads meet during the upcoming 'Epic' winter we're going to get in '05.
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Well possibly, but its a long way to go.
However, if people travelled up (at least to Glasgow) on the Friday evening we could get 2 days: perhaps one of them at Nevis Range and one at Glencoe (they are about 35 miles apart, I think). If we stayed at Ballachulish or Glencoe village (the most obvious place) we'd be between the two.
I once skied a whole day at Glencoe (till 5.00) changed, and drove back to my house in north London, arriving about 1.45am.
Car sharing would be a good idea, or if people wanted to go up to Glasgow by train or Easyjet, we could hire a minibus and drive from there. It's a lovely drive up from Glasgow (less than 70 miles from the airport to Glencoe's skiing). Very Happy
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Problem with Scotland is you have to be completely ready to drop everything when you hear there is snow and its possible to ski.
The only time EasyJet flights are cheap is if you book in advance.
The two statements are incompatible.
I guess the best thing is to take a bet on a weekend now, (maybe based on last 2 or 3 years data?) and if there is no snow just take advantage of a fab weekend in Scotland and go walking or cycling.
You know the more I write this - am thinking of doing it. And now I have my new mountain bike - maybe I don't even bother flying but take my bike and skiboots for a long weekend - there you go - you've all talked me into it! Laughing rolling eyes
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
mountain mad, couldn't agree with you more. Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Glen Etive, and a hundred other feasts for the eyes, make up for any lack of skiing.
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David Goldsmith wrote:
mountain mad, couldn't agree with you more. Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Glen Etive, and a hundred other feasts for the eyes, make up for any lack of skiing.


Exactly, so they sooner they remove the ski lifts the better, the environmental impact of Scottish skiing is out of all proportion to the number of ski days achieved. The developments shoudl never have been allowed to start with. The local economic benefit is miniscule in light of the funds invested, it's been a totally pointless excercise in so many ways.
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Well im in Glasgow so its easy for me! Just pack up the little car or head up with the Uni Snowsports lot!

Sounds like it might be open more this winter, last year it was only weekends!
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ise, presumably identical arguments could be applied to the environmental impact of skiing in Switzerland.

The Glencoe ski area is sited on private land, which I believe belongs to the Fleming (Bond 007) family. When it was first mechanised in the late 50s there was probably a more laissez faire attitude to these things.

As for economic impact, many Swiss ski areas run at a loss. I don't know if the new owners of Glencoe are going to receive hand-outs. Presumably they've bought the show without that knowledge either.

Pure ski enthusiasm seems to be the driving force - isn't that a welcome and creditable thing? Yes, we could deem Scottish skiing an economic no-no and shut it down, but I think it would be a shame.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

the environmental impact of Scottish skiing is out of all proportion to the number of ski days achieved

and what about that ugly great tennis facility in SW19 - that's only used for two weeks out of the year!!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
markP, mountain mad, David Goldsmith, Nadenoodlee, I've just started a Snowheads Glencoe Trip thread over on TRIPS, so register yourselves on there (we've already got some other takers)


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 2-07-04 8:56; edited 2 times in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
David Goldsmith wrote:
ise, presumably identical arguments could be applied to the environmental impact of skiing in Switzerland.


That the number of skier days and economic beneift is as low as Scotland? I really think not. You're thinking of Swaziland.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ise, don't you mean Lesotho?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Martin, I think the economic impact of skiing on Lesotho is roughly equivalent to its significance to World Cup downhill skiing.

Jess Stock showed me some interesting photos of that ski area many years ago, where some of the snow had been covered by a canopy to keep it in shade and prevent it from melting. I wonder how the place is coping with the global warming trend.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think we can take it that ise, won't be bothering to make the trip then.
Not much of an atitude for a snowsports enthusiast... Sad
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yes, it's easy to forget the role that Scottish skiing has played in the development of British skiing. Before the days of cheap air travel (i.e. the first half of the 20th century) the bulk of British skiing almost certainly took place in the Highlands.

However, I'd concede that it was done without the convenience of ski lifts. It is true that significant sums of public money have gone into Scottish ski infrastructure (the Cairngorm funicular being a near-£20 million example) and that some of it might have been more prudently invested (the Aviemore ski factory funded for Leo Vielhaber was another plum).
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markP wrote:
I think we can take it that ise, won't be bothering to make the trip then.
Not much of an atitude for a snowsports enthusiast... Sad


I've skied and climbed in Scotland, with and without the aid of lifts.

Club skiing in Scotland deserves to thrive, portable rope tows, ski touring, lifts on the scale of the Lake District ones that have been discussed here. What does not deserve to thrive is the destruction of areas of natural beauty using public money so businesses can make a loss of half a million or so a year on the premise that on rare occasions there’s snow people will drive several hours to ski.

Simply because I ski hardly means I have to support every ski lift in Europe or the construction of stadium size refrigerators.
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No, But your statement seemed a little churlish considering your background and current location.
'Totally pointless exercise'?
Then why bother doing anything in life?
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markP wrote:
No, But your statement seemed a little churlish considering your background and current location.
'Totally pointless exercise'?
Then why bother doing anything in life?


We do the things where the benefits outweigh the impact, risks and cost. In this case the benefit is is miniscule comapred to the cost and the impact. Millions have been spent to create loss making businesses which required SSI's and other areas of outstanding beauty to be be ruined. For the money that's been spent everyone in Scotland could have been given a pair of touring skis I'd think.
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ise, I'd strongly disagree with you there. Cairngorm must be the most closely scrutinised ski area on Earth. The 'visitor management' programme for the funicular prevents anyone walking from the top station in summer. The expansion of Cairngorm's ski area into Lurcher's Gully was blocked for environmental reasons.

Overall, the physical impact of the 5 Scottish ski areas is very small indeed in a substantial area of mountains, and Cairngorm has done a great deal to clean up its terrain (mind you, the carpark is a disaster).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

(mind you, the carpark is a disaster).


Such is the nature of car parks.
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David Goldsmith wrote:
ise, I'd strongly disagree with you there. Cairngorm must be the most closely scrutinised ski area on Earth. The 'visitor management' programme for the funicular prevents anyone walking from the top station in summer. The expansion of Cairngorm's ski area into Lurcher's Gully was blocked for environmental reasons.

Overall, the physical impact of the 5 Scottish ski areas is very small indeed in a substantial area of mountains, and Cairngorm has done a great deal to clean up its terrain (mind you, the carpark is a disaster).


The environmental impact monitoring is quite impressive, at Aonach Mor particularly. The damage is done simply by despoiling the area, stopping erosion or monitoring flowers hardly makes up for a few tonnes of metal stuck on the side of what was a wilderness area for the benefit of a very few people. Aonach Mor was a particular disgrace, it should never have been allowed, even development at the existing centres would have been better.
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I carn't believe that somone presumably living in Switzerland can complain about a tiny skiing industry in Scotland ! Such Hypocrisy.

The Swiss mountains are covered in ski machinery most of which is used for less than 4 months a year. Why should 5 million Scots be denied a Ski industry when 7 million Swiss have thousands of ski lifts and hundreds of ski resorts to choose from ? Scottish skiing has nurtured countless excellent skiers including our very own David Goldsmith, but also Alain Baxter et al.

Until the Alpine countries are capable of protecting their own environment they better not preach to the Scots how to look after theirs.

The cost of single new Swiss cable car would keep the entire Scottish ski industry going for decades, giving pleasure to thousands of enthusiasts in Scotland and northern England.

I notice that there will soon be some cheap flights available from Geneva to Glasgow. Here is your opportunity to sample some real adventure skiing Laughing
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David Goldsmith, re the Glencoe TRIP thread, when is there most likely to be the best snow these days, if we get any ?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Peter S wrote:
I carn't believe that somone presumably living in Switzerland can complain about a tiny skiing industry in Scotland ! Such Hypocrisy.

The Swiss mountains are covered in ski machinery most of which is used for less than 4 months a year. Why should 5 million Scots be denied a Ski industry when 7 million Swiss have thousands of ski lifts and hundreds of ski resorts to choose from ? Scottish skiing has nurtured countless excellent skiers including our very own David Goldsmith, but also Alain Baxter et al.


You're not seriously suggesting that 5 million Scots actually use the ski facilities in Scotland are you? Or, that the number of visitors to Scottish stations is close either in proportion or absolute terms to any Alpine country?

We could do a poll here on Snowheads and discover amongst such ardent snow sport enthusiasts based in the UK there are not many who go I suspect. How many people here went last season? Or in the last 5?

Take a look at the “What resorts have we all been to?” thread in the resorts section, if Scottish skiing’s been any sort of success it seems odd so few people go. The first mention of Scotland there was accompanied by the comment “never again” Very Happy

The argument that it nurtures UK ski talent is somewhat suspect; a fraction of the investment directly made instead to competitive skiing in the UK would be far better value for money. Focused investment in a single centre would have been better for that matter or club-based activity with portable tows and the like.

I don’t see what’s hypocritical about pointing out that it’s cost a lot of money and had environmental and visual impact for the benefit of a very few, it would be hypocritical if the same were true in Switzerland which it’s clearly not.

It’s odd to suggest that there’s some comparison between a 4-month winter season in Switzerland where the lifts are in continuous operation and a Scottish season where the operation is hardly continuous.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
ise wrote:


I don’t see what’s hypocritical about pointing out that it’s cost a lot of money and had environmental and visual impact for the benefit of a very few, it would be hypocritical if the same were true in Switzerland which it’s clearly not.



If you want to talk about enviromental damage then it is a bit unfair to criticise Scottish stations when part of the recent problems for Scottish areas has been the arrival of cheap airline flights. For example if you lived in London and wanted to ski you could always take the weekend sleepers and do a weekend in Scotland and you wouldn't have to take much time off work. Why bother though when you can take a cheap flight and then drive to the Alps instead. Whilst there are other reasons for the decline, cheap flights have shrunk the catchment area for Scottish skiing massively.

Also you can't disregard the amount of tourists the skiing areas pull in. Nevis, The Lecht and Cairngorm have all diversified and are attracting visitors year round. Something like 250,000 people use the funicular at Cairngorm every year, 180,000 use the gondola at Nevis. They bring a hell of a lot of money into the local economies.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Lager wrote:
Also you can't disregard the amount of tourists the skiing areas pull in. Nevis, The Lecht and Cairngorm have all diversified and are attracting visitors year round. Something like 250,000 people use the funicular at Cairngorm every year, 180,000 use the gondola at Nevis. They bring a hell of a lot of money into the local economies.


You'll need to explain to me why people driving to a car park in large numbers to ride a ski lift up a mountain is a good thing. I lived in a national park in the UK before emigrating, it's far from obvious to me that large numbers of tourists are a good thing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
snowball, the best snow I ever skied in Scotland was on 1 May on Cairngorm, and I wish I could tell you the year (late 70s, possibly very early 80s).

I once skied Glencoe in early March, in the company of a JCB which was trying (in vain) to dig out the track of a T-bar that was buried up to the tops of its pylons. The JCB was a lousy skier.

Scotland is usually best skied late season, but conditions up there are more unpredicable than ever. Even late season is regularly truncated these days.
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ise wrote:
Peter S wrote:
...... Scottish skiing has nurtured countless excellent skiers including our very own David Goldsmith, but also Alain Baxter et al.

.../....
The argument that it nurtures UK ski talent is somewhat suspect; a fraction of the investment directly made instead to competitive skiing in the UK would be far better value for money. Focused investment in a single centre would have been better for that matter or club-based activity with portable tows and the like.

Although there are some excellent skiers in Scotland, there are currently 4 Scots in the GB children's squad, which consists of 22 young skiers in total - a fact which contributed to a little friction when the powers that be decided to hold the latest fitness training camp in Edinburgh rather than Bath!

These proportions are likely to be maintained as Scotland alone cannot provide the conditions to produce top level skiers without extra snow training abroad, while more and more racers from elsewhere in the UK are spending all the holiday time possible training in the Alps, the British Ski Academy in Les Houches complementing this with season-long training and academic studies combined, and an increasing number of Alpine nation-based ex-pats are making their presence felt.
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David Goldsmith wrote:
Scotland is usually best skied late season, but conditions up there are more unpredicable than ever. Even late season is regularly truncated these days.


Late season was truncated this year because everybody seems to put there toys away after the Easter holidays. Being year round operations they prefer to stop losing money running lifts for nobody and switch over to summer operations. There were superb conditions this year on the first few days of May after a sizeable dump. Unfortunately all the lifts had shut 2 weeks earlier. Crying or Very sad
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith wrote:
snowball, the best snow I ever skied in Scotland was on 1 May on Cairngorm, and I wish I could tell you the year (late 70s, possibly very early 80s).

I once skied Glencoe in early March, in the company of a JCB which was trying (in vain) to dig out the track of a T-bar that was buried up to the tops of its pylons. The JCB was a lousy skier.

Scotland is usually best skied late season, but conditions up there are more unpredicable than ever. Even late season is regularly truncated these days.


Incidentally, according to the analysis on the front page of this website, we could be seeing days like that again very soon. It seems that blaming global warming may be a little simplistic. Here's hoping for a classic 2005.
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Ise,
One of the joint purposes of National Parks in Britain is to promote public enjoyment. Naturally as examples of our best landscapes and becuase of the excellent recreational opportunities they offer, they are always going to be popular with tourists.

As someone who doesn't like tourists and doesn't like ski lifts in sensitive mountain environments, why have you moved to Switzerland, the capital of tourism and the home of mechanised skiing ?

With regard to reaching Scottish skiers, you're probably on the wrong forum. Try Winterhighland.com

However a word of warning, your strong views may not be too welcome there !
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ise wrote:


You'll need to explain to me why people driving to a car park in large numbers to ride a ski lift up a mountain is a good thing.


Gets people out of the cities and into the countryside, how else are people going to travel to the ski resorts? Do you have a special way of doing it in Switzerland that we dont know about? Magic Carpet?
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SBB, mountain railways and the Post Bus. But yes, as far as the British government's concerned, it's the same thing as a magic carpet. Wink
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But why would you want to take a Bus or Train when you have a car?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Because unlike the UK the trains and busses run on time, are clean and take you exactly where you want to go, also they charge you half the return price for a single journey and finally because it means you can have drinks at lunch and after skiing before going home, not a wise move if you drive snowHead

And yes skanky you are right, what makes it worse is as with Germany much of the main rail network was originally designed by the British, it's just that the Swiss know how to run a public transport system for the benefit of the public not as a means of getting as much money as possible !
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Nadenoodlee, I don't drive - I think that means - according to Mrs Thatcher - that I'm a failure Sad Wink

My commute to work has moved to the buses and doubled in length - due to another 3 month summer closure!
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Peter S wrote:
Ise,
One of the joint purposes of National Parks in Britain is to promote public enjoyment. Naturally as examples of our best landscapes and becuase of the excellent recreational opportunities they offer, they are always going to be popular with tourists.

As someone who doesn't like tourists and doesn't like ski lifts in sensitive mountain environments, why have you moved to Switzerland, the capital of tourism and the home of mechanised skiing ?



Of course there is far more than just ski lifts built on the Swiss mountains. None of the Scottish resorts have slope side accomodation. Very little snowmaking in Scotland, whereas vast amounts of water and electricity are used to keep the Alpine tourists happy when it doesn't snow.

Compared to the average Alpine resort I'd say that Scottish skiing has far less impact on the mountain enviroment.
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