Scotland’s winter sports resorts have slithered away to close on one of their worst seasons – with Glenshee Ski Centre one of the worst hit.
A lack of snow, strong winds and mild weather all affected the five resorts – and some were hit harder than others.
Glencoe Mountain was the last of the centres to remain open, but it shut to skiers and boarders on Sunday.
Bosses had hoped to make it through to Monday, but were thwarted by the conditions.
Andy Meldrum, of the Glencoe Mountain resort, said it was among its top three poorest in the venue’s history.
Glencoe, Nevis Range, Cairngorm, Glenshee and the Lecht all used snow-making machines to keep lower slopes open.
Mr Meldrum, chairman of Ski Scotland, said: “Natural snow didn’t arrive in any volume until the beginning of February and even that only hung around for a couple of weeks before melting again.
“Snow then returned in mid-March and we had a decent run of things closing for the season on April 21.”
He added: “It won’t be the worst season but it will be up there in the top three poorest seasons with less than 10,000 skier days for the winter.
“The 2016-17 season was the worst season in history and we had just 4,600 skier days. This season we had 9,500.”
A skier day means one person who skis or snowboards on one day. Many of the same people return to the slopes several times during the season.
Glenshee was particularly badly hit by a lack of snow.
Sarah McGuire, finance manager at Glenshee, said recently: “In terms of runs open it is one of our worst seasons. We have only managed 24 days opening this season compared to around 100 in a good year and an average of about 80.
“We just seem to have missed the snow when it has fallen – we’ve been on the wrong side.”
Trafford Wilson, chief executive of Snowsport Scotland, said the mountain resorts had worked hard to cope with challenges caused by warm temperatures and heavy rain.
He said: “Despite challenging weather conditions, snow-making machines have allowed most ski resorts to open early and to operate beginner slopes and ski schools for most of the season.
“Snowsports continues to be a popular sport in Scotland, with artificial slopes attracting a significant number of people – particularly young people – to the sport throughout the season and the mountain resorts are playing an important role in allowing participants to progress their ski/board skills.”
Mr Wilson added: “Notwithstanding a challenging winter season, Snowsport Scotland’s membership has increased this year and currently 23 Scottish athletes are represented on GB training squads.”
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