Letter: The snow in Scotland
Tuesday 22 January 2008
Sir: Your article, "Scottish ski advert leads to trouble on the pistes", (24 September) and the accompanying editorial claimed 'The Scottish Tourist Board' (I think Visit Scotland was meant) is being misleading by promoting and advertising Scotland as a winter sports destination.
In particular, the following line from the editorial which suggests that The Scottish Tourist Board, "should use the milder weather conditions that now prevail to market the Highlands as an all-year-round place of interest for travellers and tourists. After all, there are as many people who enjoy walking sedately on magnificent hills, rather than sliding down them at precarious speeds with only a pair of poles for balance", is highly irresponsible and potentially lethal advice.
The editorial states that sufficient snow for skiing in the Highlands is "simply not there". The article goes on: "the country has not seen heavy snowfall or extremely low temperatures for seven years". This made me wonder which country he was talking about? Each winter people are caught out, sometimes fatally, by heavy snow, avalanches and arctic-like weather conditions on Scottish mountains.
Cairngorm ski centre was open for lift serviced snow sports for over 100 days last winter. Glencoe and Nevis Range ski centres also offered excellent snow sports between January and April. But instead, the article choose to focus on the fact that Glenshee unfortunately only opened for 34 days. The author then went onto to reference a wholly irrelevant snowfall survey for altitudes between 100m and 400m ignoring the fact that commercial lift served skiing in Scotland takes place between 564m and 1,211m.
The 40 second Visit Scotland commercial in question featured a wide range of outdoor sports which are possible: surfing, climbing, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, as well as snowsports. It certainly doesn't promote Scotland solely as a "winter wonderland". However, when weather and good snow conditions combine, as they often do, skiing in the Highlands amongst superb scenery is an exhilarating, unforgettable experience.
Doug Bryce & William White
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