Highlands & Islands

Sports minister welcomes early ski boost

Image caption Almost 15,000 skiers and snowboarders took to the slopes at the weekend

The Scottish government has welcomed the economic benefits of an early start to Scotland's winter sports season.

CairnGorm Mountain, Glencoe, Glenshee, Nevis Range and The Lecht have been open following heavy snowfalls in November and December.

Glencoe opened before Christmas for the first time in 10 years.

The government said almost 15,000 skiers and snowboarders took to the slopes across the country over the weekend.

Sports Minister Shona Robison said people were making the most of the good conditions on their doorstep.

She said: "This year's winter sports season has got off to a terrific early start and is already shaping up to be a record-breaker.

"This builds on the growth we saw during last year's bumper ski season, which was the best we had seen for 14 years and contributed at least £37.5m to Scotland's economy."

VisitScotland's chief executive Malcolm Roughead said wintry weather had brought a "fantastic boost" to the winter sports season and he had received great feedback from Scotland's ski centres and surrounding businesses.

He added: "For every one pound spent on the slopes, a further four pounds is spent with local businesses."

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