Glencoe ski centre is set to offer a guaranteed opening and closing date for the ski season.
The news follows the announcement of funding for new snowmaking equipment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
HIE has awarded the operator, Glencoe Mountain Limited (GML) £140,000 towards the £350,000 costs of acquiring the equipment from Italian firm, TechnoAlpin.
Having it in place permanently at Glencoe will guarantee a start date to the skiing season and will help maintain snow cover during periods when there is a lack of natural snow.
The snowmaking equipment will give continuous cover over part of the hill which will benefit the business and safeguard and generate employment.
The project is part of a wider programme by GML which includes the development of additional visitor accommodation, online ticketing and ski hire facilities which help to develop Glencoe as an all year-round attraction.
It will also enable the centre to guarantee skiing during the three key holiday periods of Christmas, half-term and Easter. This will help mitigate the impact that lack of natural snow can have on the company’s profitability and workforce.
As with natural snow, the snow produced by the snow making system will be spread over the runs using the piste machines on site. The manufactured snow is produced at a lower temperature than natural snow and when piled up, creates a frozen layer which helps to retain the snow.
Andy Meldrum from GML, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be making snow even when it’s lashing down with rain knowing that for the first time ever in Scottish skiing we can guarantee what day we open (1 Dec) and what day we will close for the season (6 May).
“The value of this cannot be underestimated not only for our customers and the local economy as it will give visitors more confidence in planning trips and will provide huge benefits for our business and the local economy. We are extremely grateful to HIE and all our customers and local businesses who have helped make this possible.”