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Dry slope plan to help ski centre cope with no snow

Scotland's oldest ski centre looks set to get a new dry ski slope just in time for the start of the next skiing season.

Glencoe's slopes were busier than normal last winter with frequent dumps of snow, but there is a plan to make them less dependent on the weather.

Operators Glencoe Mountain Resort have applied for planning permission to install the artificial run, able to accommodate up to 50 skiers.

Andy Meldrum, managing director of the resort, said: "We had a good season this past winter, the best we have had in five years.

"But over the last few years there have been more and more days when we can't get skiers up the hill. So with or without snow we would be able to cater for all our schools groups, all our beginners and others.

"It will help us stay viable on days when it is too windy. We don't really have any intention of running it as a ski slope in the summer. Rather we want to run it for tubing."

Sno-tubing is growing in popularity with children in particular.

Giant rings with hard bases are used to slide down the ski slope, often spinning as they do.

"Most dry slopes now earn as much from their tubing as they do from their skiing, so it will give us an extra attraction in the summer, along with the likes of the mountain biking, while in the winter it will be an important back-up," said Mr Meldrum.

He said it should be installed in time for the coming winter, and the company is in discussions with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to get support for the £250,000 project.

The plans include a new toilet and shower block for the camping area, while. the cafe will also be extended.

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