What's new in the world of the ski slope

Those constantly seeking new ski destinations around the world will be pleased to hear that last week, Mustapha Kafri, director of Syria's investment authority, announced plans for a £8bn tourist resort with ski slopes and lifts to be built on the northern and eastern slopes of Mount Hermon. The project is to be financed by a group of Syrian, Kuwaiti and Saudi investors, and has support from the Syrian government.

Warning of the week: taking your own skis

It's bad news for Britain's ski retail industry, but be wary before you buy skis or a snowboard if you plan to do more than just adore them in the comfort of your own home. Airlines typically charge £15-£20 each way to bring skis or boards along. Add on the cost of the annual service costs and the hassle factor and you'll need to be skiing for at least a fortnight to save on just renting in resort.

The whole experience of getting the skis or board on the plane seems to be made as complex as possible. At check-in, you must first sign a disclaimer saying the airline is free of any responsibility for the gear you're paying them a premium to carry for you. If you have not pre-booked and pre-paid your skis, your boarding pass will be withheld until you've walked across the airport to pay your fee at a separate desk (queue two), then back to the check-in scrum with your receipt to reclaim boarding cards (queue three) before you progress to the outsize-baggage desk (queue four). With all your check-in time expired, it's then a race through security to join the fight for your seat on the plane.

Destination of the week: Scotland

The promised harsh winter may have failed to materialise and Scotland's five conventional ski centres are once again battling to stay in business but long-range projections are good - snow will fall every night in Scotland from April onwards.

Xscape Braehead is the fourth and largest indoor snow slope in the UK and the first north of the border. Its 200m-long indoor snow slope in April will finally make Scottish skiing a certainty. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it will be free of the wind chill that often affects the existing Scottish slopes. The minus five operating temperature may also be warmer than the slopes of Cairngorm.

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