You are NOT Logged in.
Chat about all aspects of snowsports, backcountry, climbing and mountaineering.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Goto Page:  Previous1234Next
Current Page:2 of 4
alan


Posts: 10732
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 17:20
16th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 11.06hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
Having slept on it a few key points regards what I saw and heard yesterday.

If this happens as proposed £35m+ will have been invested into CMLs facilities since the Funicular construction begun - yet we will still have not one operating chairlift on the mountain and the only new uplift will be a rope tow.

Unless facilities are provided at the Ciste Carpark a further reduction of the size of the Cas Carpark will see continued managed decline of snowsports.

Nothing to deal with the multi facetted inadequacies of the West Wall Poma, no plans to build a new boardwalk / path to ease egress from the Ciste Gully. Nothing to address the grossly inadequate mid-mountain uplift capacity (reduced by 50% through the core lifts policy) that along with improving uplift capacity elsewhere will see the drift away from CairnGorm continue.

Proposals do provide for significantly increased catering capacity, but only via a monolithic provision at the Base Station. To work this requires a fully installed & automated snow making system on the Carpark Run (this should happen anyway, the availability of the Carpark Run is critical to demand).

New catering capacity at base will remain under utilised even with good conditions on the Carpark Run until uplift capacity is strengthened.

A monolithic approach to catering provision makes life easier for the operating company, but fails to maximise potential revenue or customer benefits.

Does not address lack of facilities mid-mountain, lack of toilets / shelter for Ski School using the new Sheiling Tow, lack of even toilets at the Ciste Carpark, nor the overcrowding that will continue to happen in the Ptarmigan Restaurant.

Snowsports customers would derive greater benefit from and make more use of a distributed network of smaller catering outlets and toilets. Small snack bar at base of the Ciste T-bar, new mid-mountain cafe close to the Funicular mid-station as examples. A mid-station cafe that was open year round would entice more people to walk the lower Cas loop paths, and turn more visitors to the site into paying customers of CML.

The most common expression I heard yesterday was a degree of surprise at the scale of what was being proposed, but equally a real concern that despite a fairly grand idea, there was very little to improve the snowsports provision on CairnGorm.

The severity of the ski road's exposure above Coire na Ciste and the issue of katabatibc wind acceleration down Coire Cas from the Plateau, making an already extreme climate zone more severe, points to the case that a good proportion of the facilities proposed would be better situated in Coire na Ciste or even around the Hayfield at Glenmore.

This project will require multiple seasons of disruption to base facilities in Coire Cas. Thus it makes the case for reinstating the Ciste Chairs and providing facilities in Coire na Ciste even stronger, so an alternative route up the mountain is available to divert traffic away from Coire Cas. Without such, the disruption and reduced parking is likely to put people off CairnGorm and when they see improving facilities and capacity elsewhere, they won't necessarily come back.





Edited 1 times. Last edit at 11.07hrs Tue 27 Oct 15 by alan.
alan


Posts: 10732
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 17:20
16th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 19.38hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
Some actual renders of the proposed replacement Base Station have appeared on the BBC News Website:

[www.bbc.co.uk]

From lower Cas Carpark:



From upper Cas Carpark (Funicular hall of Base Station can bee seen in the sloping roof profiled building behind):



The consultation days continue tomorrow, with the location shifting to the Base Station's Aonach room on CairnGorm Mountain from 11.30am to 7pm. They'll also be another two days next week Wed and Thursday also on CairnGorm.

More skiers, boarders, walkers, climbers, local businesses, accommodation providers that drop in and give feedback and suggestions the better. Potentially vast sum of cash could be spent on the mountain, help guide what happens next.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.38hrs Tue 27 Oct 15 by alan.
cbsnap


Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2004
Last Visited: 13:27
6th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 20.55hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
Apologies if I'm being a bit thick...

It's a proposal to spend 35 MEEELLLION QUID.... on a new cafe?!
And a ROPE tow?

It's a ski resort with too few lifts and a que problem.

The other resorts must be staggered that CML/NR can hose cash on stuff that doesnt address their core problems.
alan


Posts: 10732
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 17:20
16th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 21.03hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
An architect present yesterday estimated £15-16m for what is currently proposed, the official final figure for the Funicular including existing Base Station and Ptarmigan was £19.6m (hence the figure of £35m).
cbsnap


Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2004
Last Visited: 13:27
6th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 21.18hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
I WAS being a bit thick....! smiling smiley

Still, £15 million beer tokens....
some frustrated skier


Posts: 236
Joined: Mar 2003
Last Visited: 15:17
15th Jan 2021
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 21.40hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
£15 million could be better spend imo.

Centralising assests hasn't worked for the last 10, why would it work in the next 10.

Idiots are now running the asylum.

Have NR still been in talks with save the Ciste or all gone cold?
sspeirs


Posts: 355
Joined: Mar 2008
Last Visited: 16:29
13th Jan 2021
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 23.06hrs on Tue 27 Oct 15
cbsnap Wrote:

The other resorts must be staggered that CML/NR can hose cash on stuff that doesnt address their core problems.


Based upon the directions of NR shown above, I'm actually wondering if CML/NR want to be a ski/boarding resort? Or are they aiming for the non-winter activities to be the biggest part of their business? Or perhaps in winter they are focusing on beginners/families who won't use as much uplift?



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 23.07hrs Tue 27 Oct 15 by sspeirs.
alan


Posts: 10732
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 17:20
16th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 00.04hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
From various discussions I've had and the Save the Ciste group have had with involved parties over the summer, HIE seems to view the non-skiing funicular visitor as CMLs core business and that will have to be influencing Natural Retreats (indeed it may be constraining what NR might get financial help with).

The trouble with that is non-skiing funicular visitors come once or twice, then it's a case of done the train, got the t-shirt etc.

What's the sensible core business here?

The one where most of the market has always to be new customers to replace those who've already been and where due to the challenges of having to perpetually attract new customers the the paying visitor numbers have dropped 50% since funicular opening (165k+ non ski visitors in 2002 to 80k in 2014).

What about the market segment where visitors come back, again, and again, and do so regularly, most several times a year, every year? The snowsports segment.

If CML do not make a success of snowsports in a given season, CML do not have a decent financial year - the Funicular has not to date and can't change that reality. It is the snowsports element of CairnGorm Mountain Ltd that is critical to underpinning a year round tourism sector in Strathspey.

A more distributed approach to improving on mountain facilities, could by reducing the footprint of each project allow lower cost construction methods to still deliver a high quality built environment that delivers better customer satisfaction year round.

A world class service does not start with queuing for a shuttle bus in an above treeline carpark without so much as a toilet available. The centralisation of facilities at the base in Coire Cas has delivered a spectacular failure in customer service provision, resulting in a negative effect on demand and leaves first time and non snowsports visitors completely lost, confused and bewildered.

growwild


Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct 2005
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 00.07hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
Looks like a little airport in they drawings, I'm guessing the five Bentleys are paying customers and the sheds belong to the staff..


muzza


Posts: 57
Joined: Mar 2014
Last Visited: 09:31
12th Sep 2020
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 07.33hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
So the Scottish Government share approx. £5m between Glencoe, Glenshee and Nevis Range and we get 1 new button, 1 replacement chairlift, 1 refurbished chairlift and 2 new chairlifts out of it. CGM spend £15m and there's nothing to look forward to apart from a longer queue from the Ciste carpark.

Surely £15m could have paid for a new base station and car park at Glenmore with a gondola to the funicular as well as a replacement Ciste chairlift.

But instead (and I might offend some people here) but we have yet another example of the prevalence of signature public buildings which sacrifice value for money and practicality for a fancy architect's imagination and the chance of a Stirling Prize. Alas all of this comes with a hefty price tag which the public end up paying for through charges, taxes, grants, subsidies or the lottery.

The Riverside Museum in Glasgow is a classic case of this. A very fancy building, miles from transport links, that when you go inside is full of exhibits you can't see because they're miles away stuck on a wall. The cheap cafe in the old Transport Museum is now a fancy table service place where most Glaswegians can't afford to eat.

I despair when I see just how much money is pissed against a wall in these projects, and CGM is another example in a long list. They all seem to be pandering to some artistic elite that don't live in the same world as the rest of us.

CGM has some nice pistes, but I find the overall experience of visiting it soul destroying, especially when it's busy. I find it stunning that Natural Retreats plan to spend £15m on the place and not make me want to go there any more than I already do. Whereas I'm excited about the £5m being spent elsewhere, and look forward to trying out the new facilities over the next few seasons.
Hipennine


Posts: 1056
Joined: Dec 2005
Last Visited: 15:50
16th Jan 2021
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 08.54hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
Decisions, decisions, what to do ?:

1/ Fancy new catering facility at bottom of hill, ptarmigan at the top, limited uplift for the good skiing, and guaranteed queueing, or,

2/ Plateau chateau and small cafe at the bottom of the hill, but expanding lift network, and good lift access to the good skiing.


This last season has shown that the market will tolerate the limited plateau chateau catering in exchange for quality skiing, and that quality is improving year on year. It's not a difficult message to understand surely ?
cbsnap


Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2004
Last Visited: 13:27
6th Jan 2021
What's this?What's this?
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 09.29hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
I would imagine there are lots of examples of "successful" cafés to call upon. Lots of research into optimal product placement, customer flow modelling and projected upspend based on base frappameoldmuckachinos pricing, and quite a lot of experts in “artisan café solutions".

Not so much in the way of analysis and projections for snow sport infrastructure.



"We reckon one million quid for a new chairlift and toilet would make a tremendous difference."

"Got a cost/benefit analysis and other projected numbers for that?"

"No... but we have for a fifteen million pound café. Look at the Bakewell Tart cross sell projections!"

"Now yer talking! Where do I sign?"


When we say we're off skiing in Scotland the response is (after "they got any snow?")... "Aviemore?".

It's "famous" for skiing not a funicular railway.

And while I'm at it: If i was the owner of the Mountain Cafe etc. I'd be less than chuffed that CML/NR seem to have a business plan that potentially removes customers from the town centre AFTER they've had tonnes of (free) money shovelled into one of their USPs i.e. being a ski resort.
awaytouring


Posts: 53
Joined: Nov 2004
Last Visited: 16:06
25th Jan 2020
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 09.49hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
It is complete insanity, however unfortunately it does not surprise me as Cairngorm is a complete basket case. £15 million - that is a lot of bacon rolls/coffee sales just to service the debt, never mind make any return on the investment.
This is Scotland, not Vail or Aspen - IF the buildings need replaced then why not build something cheap and easy to build (i.e. functional). I think the new café at the lecht was around half a million and it seems to work ok. Build a bigger version of this at Cairngorm for £1-2million and spend the rest on better facilities that make people want to return - sheling café, ciste chair, mid mountain lifts etc.

This crazy idea reinforces my decision to ski with my family at the other 4 ski centres. We visited last easter for the first time in a few years and had a pretty poor experience. Not something that we will be repeating again this year. Sadly for Cairngorm (and businesses in the Aviemore area) our money is being spent elsewhere - 15-20 days per season our money goes elsewhere.

We are not alone in doing this.
Suilven


Posts: 52
Joined: Feb 2010
Last Visited: 14:08
15th Jan 2021
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 11.13hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
Appears to be total madness. Flat roofs and big windows in probably the windiest/snowiest/coldest place in the UK. If the architect's ever been to Coire Cas, I doubt it was in winter...



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 11.15hrs Wed 28 Oct 15 by Suilven.
bogbiker


Posts: 110
Joined: Feb 2009
Last Visited: 17:33
9th Apr 2019
Re: CML / Natural Retreats pre-planning drop in sessions Oct 26/27/28
Date Posted: 11.20hrs on Wed 28 Oct 15
This really does make me sad. I have spent a considerable amount of time in the area over the past 28 years and feel that slowly but surely what used to be a hub of snowsports has been chipped away at and turned in to an amusement park. When are they going to listen to voices of those who bring them regular income every winter?
Goto Page:  Previous1234Next
Current Page:2 of 4
Your Name: 
Your Email: 
Subject: