…and car parking will be free at the Cas car park this winter too.

In a move that will safeguard 70 jobs, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have taken over the assets and operations of CairnGorm Mountain ski centre and funicular railway with immediate effect. The new company, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd., is a new subsidiary formed after reaching an agreement with the administrators.

CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, a subsidiary of Natural Retreats, went into administration last month after cash-flow problems stemming from the funicular shutdown. HIE owns Cairngorm Estate and had leased the ski resort to CairnGorm Mountain Ltd.

The findings of an investigation into the funicular’s structural problems were expected this week, but it has now been announced that the report has been further delayed. The results are now not expected until next year. The funicular, which was built at a cost of £26m, has been out of action since early October.

Since HIE set up CairnGorm Mountain Ltd. in the first place, and this is public money being spent, there has been further criticism of how affairs have been handled – as the public have now effectively footed the bill for the funicular twice.

Proposed changes

The board of Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd. (the new company) held their inaugural meeting yesterday, acknowledging “many issues to address”. A number of moves were proposed at the meeting:

  • Revised ticket prices.
  • Free season passes for children below 12 attending primary school in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.
  • Local ski schools will be invited to provide ski school services on the mountain, and will be offered a range of benefits including discounted passes, office space and car parking.

Free parking

Mountaineering Scotland’s Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Younie, wrote to Highlands & Islands Enterprise earlier this week seeking reassurances that the road and car park would be kept accessible. In a statement, Mountaineering Scotland detailed the reply they had received from HIE Chief Executive Charlotte Wright. She confirmed that compulsory car parking charges at the Cas car park – announced earlier this year by CairnGorm Mountain Ltd – would not apply during the winter season.

Charlotte Wright said: “HIE and the new company, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd is doing all it can to prepare the resort for winter snow sports and that indeed focusses on the road being open and accessible for users of the Mountain.”

She added: “The technical team on-site are working hard to ensure that the appropriate snow clearing equipment is available for road clearing. We are also looking to strengthen the resources with additional plant.”

Header image © dnaveh / Shutterstock.com