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Scottish ski centre is set to open early this season

The Lecht expects a larger footfall this winter following issues at CairnGorm Mountain.

Powder: Skiers and boarders will be able to hit the slopes early.
Powder: Skiers and boarders will be able to hit the slopes early. Pixabay

A Scottish ski centre will open early this season thanks to a revolutionary snowmaking machine.

The Lecht will welcome skiers and snowboarders onto its slopes in early December after purchasing a Snowfactory from Italian company TechnoAlpin.

The innovative generator is able to produce snow regardless of air temperature and will help the Aberdeenshire resort stay open for longer.

The Lecht, a multi-activity centre on the eastern side of the Cairngorms in Strathdon, trialled the machine in February and was impressed with the results.

Snowfactory: The innovative technology can produce snow regardless of air temperature.
Snowfactory: The innovative technology can produce snow regardless of air temperature. Lecht Ski Centre

A spokesperson told STV News: "After the success of the trial we decided to invest in one.

"With the innovative cooling technology along with using all the green energy from our wind turbine to power the unit, we will be able to make snow.

"We are very excited about the purchase."

Although the Snowfactory is not intended as a substitute for classic snowmaking systems, it is designed to complement conventional snow guns to provide extra coverage for terrain parks, events, races and lower slopes that struggle to maintain snow cover throughout the season.

All-weather: Snow sessions could now take place in the summer.
All-weather: Snow sessions could now take place in the summer. Lecht Ski Centre

The GB Park and Pipe youth team enjoyed the benefits of the Snowfactory with a successful training camp at the Lecht on three of the hottest days in June.

Although the centre does not plan on having snowsports all-year round, it does give the flexibility of securing an opening and closing date.

The spokesperson added: "It gives us the possibility of running some courses and events, and have them guaranteed for a certain date rather than waiting to see if we have enough snow."

All-season: The Lecht will be able to top up the slopes.
All-season: The Lecht will be able to top up the slopes. Lecht Ski Centre

The Lecht - Scotland's third largest ski centre - expects a larger footfall this season following the issues at CairnGorm Mountain in Aviemore.

As reported by STV News previously, the funicular railway has been closed for urgent repairs and faces being out of action for the whole of the winter.

Uncertainty over the availability of the funicular has already had negative impacts. CairnGorm Mountain will not be running its snow school this season, and the annual Groove CairnGorm music festival will not take place next February.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has bought £1m worth of snowmaking equipment to be put in place by December, however the artificial snow will only be used on the lower slopes of the resort.

Closed: CairnGorm Mountain's funicular is out of action.
Closed: CairnGorm Mountain's funicular is out of action.

The Lecht spokesperson stated: "With the issues at Aviemore we are preparing for more new customers, especially more beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders who can't get access to the top of the ptarmigan.

"Our beginners' area is situated at the bottom of the hill where our Snowfactory is located. The beginners' area will now always have snow on it from the beginning of December.

"Because we can guarantee an opening date, we can guarantee jobs and lifts open."

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