MEET Scotland’s real Jack Frost – the man who is set to revolutionise the nation’s ski industry by using cutting-edge engineering to make the white stuff fall on snow-free mountain slopes.

Jamie Smith – the owner of Ice Factor Kinlochleven in Lochaber, Scotland’s leading indoor ice-climbing centre, and the Snow Factor, the country’s only indoor ski and snowboarding slope in Glasgow’s Braehead – can do the impossible: he can make it snow outdoors.

Creating indoor ice caves and ski-runs is already all part of a day’s work for Smith, who now plans to make sure it snows on Scottish ski resorts.

Smith, who was first inspired to create the Ice Factor – which opened in 2003 – by a leading refrigeration expert, has the technology to ensure the Scottish mountains are dusted with white throughout the winter season, whatever the weather.

“After we opened the Ice Factor we had people from all over the world contacting us, including someone from the United Arab Emirates with a plan to build a snow centre,” he added. “I spent a lot of time there looking at how they were going to make snow in an indoor environment. You cannot create the big flakes that you would expect from a Disney movie, but you create a fog that falls as snow and has the right amount of squeakiness for skiing.”

While resorts in Europe have increasingly bought in snow that can be “blown” up the mountain using snow cannons, Smith claims the cold and dry conditions necessary for snow are rare here, meaning making the snow is a better option.

“What I am proposing is to make snow and disperse that,” he said. “The technology has already been around for a long while – just look on any fishing boat coming into Peterhead and you’ll find a flow ice machine covering the fish with chips of ice. Snow is just really that in a flattened form. All you need to do is grind that and pump it out at high speed, allowing you to make snow and fling it around.”

He added: “We see a lot of dreich days and gun-metal grey skies in Scotland. The snow makes everything brighter. When the sun is shining and you are on the slope you have that effect combined with a blast of vitamin D and the rush of endorphins. There’s something profoundly positive about being out on the hills in the snow. It gives people access to some of our wildest places.”

Andy Meldrum, owner and managing director of Glencoe Mountain Resort, will be making snow in the resort for the first time this year, and has hired a snow machine costing £52,000 for the season. He hopes it will not be needed – “it’s like taking an umbrella so that it won’t rain” – but claims it will be the first time that a Scottish resort can guarantee good skiing even if it does not show naturally. “It’s brand new for Scotland and means people know that they will be able to rely on getting a certain amount of good quality skiing,” he said. “Scotland has always had good seasons, terrible seasons and fantastic seasons and I don’t think that has changed. But this means people can book their hotels and holiday cottages in advance without worrying about the snow.”

The snow-sports sector is worth around £30 million per year, supporting over 600 jobs, according to Scottish figures, making it a critical part of the winter tourism economy. Some ski resorts have attempted to diversify in recent years adding mountain biking, walking trails and climbing to ski runs.

A spokeswoman for Visit Scotland said the plans were an “excellent example of the resilience, determination and innovation of Scotland’s tourism industry”.

“With businesses that are greatly reliant on the weather, this sort of innovation shows real creativity in considering ways we can continue to attract local residents and snowsport enthusiasts to our wonderful slopes, regardless of the temperature,” she added.

“Our ski centres are a huge draw to local residents, snow-sport enthusiasts from around Scotland and also from further afield.”