A LATE start to Scotland's skiing season had a "significant" impact on the country's mountain resorts.

End of season figures show that five mountain ski areas operated for a total of 404 days this season, down from 463 and 441 in previous years.

Overall, skiers and snowboarders generated almost £21M for the Scottish and UK economy, benefitting snowsports areas and local businesses such as hotels and guests houses, places to eat and drink, shops and filling stations.

It is estimated that £16.8M was spent in these local businesses with a further £4.1M going to the ski resorts.

Chair of Ski-Scotland Heather Negus said: “We are delighted with these figures. Although they are lower than last season, they are much better than anticipated, given the late start to the season.

"This year, the season did not start until mid-January, as opposed to last winter, when our first ski areas were open by mid-December.”

She added: "Most snowsports countries around the world find that skiers and snowboarders are always raring to go at the start of the season and interest dies off after Easter when there’s warmer temperatures in the valleys and at sea level.

"Scotland is no different – everyone wants to come as soon as there’s enough snow for sliding fun and that’s when the weather tends to be least predictable.

"Although this season was short, we found that on average across the resorts there were more skiers each day – 514 per day in 2016 compared to only 497 for season 2014-15.”

All the snowsports areas have now switched to their summer activity operations, with some already also working on new facilities for season 2016-17.