Natural Retreats are once again bringing forward again the previously ditched plan for a dry slope on the Windy Ridge. Further they appear to be seeking to obtain planning permission without confirming the material for which the slope will be constructed - something that will have a significant impact on the scale / type of ground works required.
They were absolute that the slope would be snowflex, the CNPA has already expressed their concerns about this, so this application should first and foremost be rejected as incomplete.
There is currently an £80k+ review of CairnGorm Mountain in progress by external consultants which is due to report in the autumn (Sep 2018).
Since the process of initiating this consultation, HIE and CML have already prejudiced its findings by chopping up the Coire na Ciste and West Wall Chairlifts, when part of the brief was to be weighing up the costs / benefits of repair vs replacement. Pushing ahead with the dryslope will further prejudice the review of CairnGorm.
To view all documentation, go to the highland.gov.uk, select planning and search for PH22 1RB. It is not possible to deep link into the planning portal, and you must now also register to comment!
All of the other four Scottish areas either have or had dry slopes, all but the Glencoe slope were Dendix and situated at high elevation (above 2000ft). Of these high slopes the Glenshee and Lecht one were removed and the Nevis Range slope is not used for snowsports in summer.
The evidence to date is that there is next to zero market for summer snowsports on mountain dryslopes, because people will if they are so inclined make use of a local dry slope. Glencoe's slope is used entirely for tubing outwith the snowsports season. Something which looks to be out of the question given the profile of this slope as indicated by the visuals and plans.
The location adjacent to the Daylodge Poma faces into and is fully exposed to the prevailing West / South West winds which accelerate over this ridge - hence why it's been known by generations of walkers, climbers and skiers as the Windy Ridge.
The location will also do nothing to alleviate the fact this business has no income when the road to Coire Cas is closed. Following open days last year a figure of £1.2m was talked about to construct this slope.
There maybe a case for a smaller dry slope at a different location and lower elevation on CairnGorm, but ultimately people come to CairnGorm Mountain to learn on SNOW and the majority of lessons would be cancelled if the only option was a dryslope.
What is proposed in a visually highly sensitive and highly exposed location is an absolute folly and extreme waste of public funds and it needs to be stopped.
Edited 2 times. Last edit at 16.30hrs Wed 21 Mar 18 by alan.