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Traffic left frozen as too many head for the slopes

WINTER enthusiasts have forced police to close a busy main road as thousands descended on Scotland's ski centres to enjoy record snow levels and bright skies.

WAITING: Police stopped traffic below the Glenshee ski resort as the car park was full and the road was in danger of being blocked by a record number of visitors.
WAITING: Police stopped traffic below the Glenshee ski resort as the car park was full and the road was in danger of being blocked by a record number of visitors.

An army of skiers and snowboarders yesterday travelled to the country's main resorts with operators forecasting a busy week ahead with the excellent conditions coinciding with half-term school holidays in some parts of the country.

So many winter sports fans headed to Glenshee Ski Centre - the nearest resort to Glasgow and Edinburgh - that Police Scotland was forced to close the A93 around 10am.

Officers stopped traffic below the resort as the centre's car park was full and the road was in danger of being blocked.

The move left many skiers angry and motorists trying to reach Braemar trapped in miles of stationary traffic. However, for those who reached the mountains, the effort was worth it.

Stewart Davidson, director at Glenshee Ski Centre, said around 3000 were skiing at the resort yesterday with 2000 people expected today.

"Once people got to the mountain there were no problems. All our lifts and runs were open and people had an excellent day's skiing. I think there will be a lot of sore legs and red faces among people leaving Glenshee today."

Angela Dingwall, resort manager at Glencoe Mountain, said her resort was experiencing its best snow for 20 years, with 941 people on the mountain yesterday.

There had been so much snow the lift at the top of the mountain was still under drifts and too difficult to dig out, she said.

"I've been here for 13 years and can't remember such high levels of snow. My colleagues who have been here longer say is the best snow since 1994," she added.

"Because the top lift is closed, we've only been able to get people to the middle of the mountain. It's not ideal, but to be honest we have so much snow it hasn't really mattered."

Colin Kirkwood, marketing manager at Cairngorm Mountain, Aviemore, said 1800 skiers and snowboarders were at the resort yesterday with the centre predicting today would be its busiest day of the year.

He said the Funicular, which was closed yesterday, should open today allowing skiers access to the whole mountain.

"I think the timing of the Winter Olympics has been very fortuitous for us. Leading up to half-term people have been watching the events on television and thought 'I'd like to have a go at that' and obviously we're keen to make sure they can have a go at some of these sports without going too far away."

He added: "We're expecting this week to be our busiest of the year."

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