Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 22.21hrs on Mon 29 Oct 18
Further to My post on 24 October, I received a reply from Cairngorm on Friday 26 October. I have now replied to the reply. The Bold thing doesn't work here however...
Thank you for your reply. I note that you have not answered the questions in my initial email. For the sake of clarity, I have highlighted my questions in bold in this email.
At the time of sending my initial email I had read your updates issued on 1 October and 11 October. I have since read a further update issued by HIE on 23 October. I note from the HIE update that the anticipated date of completion for the latest Engineer's Report has slipped from; "The findings of the detailed investigations are expected in November." (Cairngorm website, 1 October 2018)
to; "A report of the investigation is expected in early December." (HIE website, 23 October 2018)
Is this an official change, or simply a different interpretation of the same information by two different parties? If the latter, which is correct?
I have also read a number of press reports, including from both the BBC and the P&J.
The BBC report regarding the closure of the Snowsports School dated 29 October states;
"A lack of snow for the school's lessons has also played a part in the decision to cancel it this season."
I have challenged the BBC on this as this is simply an unknown at the current time - maybe the journalist has simply got the wrong end of the stick, not understanding that normally the majority of lessons take place in the Ptarmigan Bowl, and my experience of the last 25 years has shown that this area is very snowsure. Ergo, the issue isn't the lack of snow, but the lack of access to the snow.
In the same article Ewan Kearney is quoted as saying "Given the uncertainty surrounding the funicular and the likely knock-on effects to CairnGorm Mountain's carrying capacity, coupled with limited snow cover for lessons, we have made the decision not to operate our own Snow School this winter..."
I note that as of tonight, all of the pages regarding the Snowsports School are still live on your website. I would urge you to remove these at the earliest opportunity.
I share Ewan's concerns, especially regarding uncertainty over the funicular, the capacity of the mountain to function without the funicular, and the nature of natural low-level snow cover.
In my last email I asked;
I note from your press release dated 11/10/18 that you state:
“A key component of the plan will be the potential to utilise snow making equipment at lower levels, making the mountainside accessible for beginners, and reducing congestion in other high traffic areas.”
How many Snow Factories do you anticipate installing to guarantee uplift on the Lower Slopes?
If uplift remains restricted come the commencement of the snowsports season, will overall ticket sales be restricted to compensate for lack of uplift capacity?
My personal observation would be that the single Snow Factory was very effective in the immediate area in which it was deployed last session, ironically, providing an area for beginner lessons adjacent to the main carpark. I would also note that if the Ptarmigan Restaurant and Toilets are closed (P&J website, 6 October 2018) this winter season, this area would also be the closest to a very limited catering service, and the only available toilets on the Mountain.
Can you please clarify whether the Ptarmigan building will be open this winter, regardless of the operation of the funicular?
Have the team discussed servicing the building using access other than the funicular?
I would also like an answer to the final question I asked in my initial email;
If Season Ticket holders feel that the service that they have purchased is not being provided, will Cairngorm Mountain refund the cost of the tickets?
I would note that the deadline for purchasing an Early Bird Season Pass at Glencoe is 31 October at 12pm.