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alan


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2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 14.56hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
It was unclear at the A&GCT AGM a few weeks back if the lift placements in the HIE video were the placements SE Group proposed in their document - know we know it is.

There was a fairly widespread feeling in the room that what was in the HIE video was a nonsense in terms of placement - 'right things in as wrong places as possible' to paraphrase one comment from memory.

There is a huge amount of info to digest in the document and lot of experience and research applied to potential options on CairnGorm, but it does seem clear it is done from a position of no real world experience of the mountain or understanding of how the topography interacts with the often severe weather.

That need not be a major issue if HIE listens locally and consults widely. The work done on the report can be tweaked making use of local knowledge and form a decent starting point - the most important point in the entire document is the acceptance that CairnGorm has been left behind and needs major investment to get snowsports capacity back.

However, I do have concerns that HIE were quite cute with some of the info provided to SE Group and they may have had a misleading impression of where Scottish snowsports as whole is at and on the reasons why we've gone from a gradual drift away from CairnGorm to reaching a point where there was an exodus and an unprecedented collapse in market share.

Take a look at this graph on page 11 - it has no year axis and is not current data and gives a misleading perspective on what is happening at the Scotland level.



A figure repeated throughout the document is that the carrying capacity of the mountain is 2700 riders per day. Where the calculation is explained in figure 17 on page 51 - it is expressly derived from the current standing uplift capacity / layout.

This significantly under estimates the capacity of the Ciste, and it could be argued that the removal of the chairs prior to this review prejudged the report not just from an engineering point of view but from lowering the calculated carrying capacity of the mountain.

Using detailed studies and methodology by Bob Clyde from the 70s the Ciste Chairlifts and terrain served would with the proposals put forward in 2016 by StC then modified and built on by the Community Trust in 2017 give an increase of 500 in carrying capacity of the hill.

Further the uplift reductions that have occurred over the past 10+ years are not addressed in the SE Groups calculations of the mountains capacity. Timed observations of uplift broadly verify the uplift per hour figures in the SE Group report and when compared to historic company documentation shows the uplift capacity today is 60% of what it was in 1994 (and 54% when Funicular mid stopping).

If the same methodology was applied to to the 1994 figure as the modern one the carrying capacity of the mountain arrived at would have been around 4500 riders per day. Indeed there is reference elsewhere in the report to the terrain capacity being >4000 riders per day.

Also the report doesn't consider the potential for base services in the Ciste which could not practically be provided at Coire Cas such as modest accommodation provision which could be a game changer for the business with minimal abstraction from the Strath. Campervans already park in numbers and microlodge style accommodation on site would have the potential to convert day trippers to weekend / short break stays (visitors that would be hard to convert into Aviemore stays as they would have to get in the car and drive anyway).

There are also a few contradictions which hint that 'he who pays the piper' principle may have been in effect here. It says in the case against the Ciste that out of base capacity is not an issue on CairnGorm, yet that it is a major problem is repeated numerous times through the document.

It's widely said that when you start to do a major overhaul of a snowsports area you should start at the bottom - hence an out of base chair as phase 1.

However the most critical issue on CairnGorm in recent years has been lack of mid-mountain uplift. While overall uplift capacity has reduced 40%, the mid-mountain capacity where most of the terrain that appeals to the majority of the visitors is has been reduced by 66% while being served by the 2 most challenging and steep surface lifts on the mountain.

Finally for now, back to mountain capacity and the often mentioned uplift inefficiencies. The assumptions and principles in the SE Group report would render Glenshee a complete basket case entity - but it is Glenshee not CairnGorm that is able to stand on it's own two feet today. The critical point being that Scottish Snowsports will always be highly opportunistic and Glenshee unlike CairnGorm still has the terrain and uplift capacity to make hay while the sun shines!




Edited 3 times. Last edit at 15.10hrs Tue 18 Dec 18 by alan.

Attachments: HIE-undated-graph.jpg (74kB)  
ML


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 16.10hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
I challenge you alan, can you say anything positive about the plan?

WickRatson


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 16.55hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18

ML Wrote:
I challenge you alan, can you say anything positive about the plan?


alan Wrote:

That need not be a major issue if HIE listens locally and consults widely..


Do you ever think that's going to happen Alan? Consulting who exactly?



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.56hrs Tue 18 Dec 18 by WickRatson.

hstn747


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 17.19hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
ML Wrote:
I challenge you alan, can you say anything positive about the plan?


I don't think anyone is suggesting there isn't anything positive about it. What people are concerned about is HIE's ability to get things right, and not just part right, but 100% right.

This is our tax £s being spent. It's only right that people scrutinise any plans to spend our money especially when it's HIE doing the spending.

There is a risk that the solutions will not go far enough or be implemented in-correctly which would lead to good money being wasted.

It is not being un-supportive to want to see that all options have been fully explored and all risks understood. In fact, it would be negligent to just assume HIE are on top of the situation and trust them to get the best outcome.

There is an opportunity to clear out the rot rather than just paint over it again. The area needs it to be done properly this time rather than the risk of more white elephants.

alan


Posts: 10750
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2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 17.21hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
Itís not a plan, itís a consultants report that may or may not contribute to a master plan being developed. That analysis of AWS data backs up the potential for significant snow making on CairnGorm and that uplift capacity must be increased are positive takes.

Where the things are put on the maps is like someone just vomited items onto a blank map of CairnGorm ! Thus itís a start point on a journey that may lead to a plan.

Might I just point out that analysis on snow making wouldnít have been possible but for the Winterhighland AWS which CML removed in a fit of pique over our tech and graphic design input into the community trust open day in Nov 2017.







Edited 2 times. Last edit at 17.24hrs Tue 18 Dec 18 by alan.

dhorsley


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 17.26hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
ML Wrote:
I challenge you alan, can you say anything positive about the plan?


Clearly you didn't actually read what Alan wrote in the post above yours.

Quote:
That need not be a major issue if HIE listens locally and consults widely. The work done on the report can be tweaked making use of local knowledge and form a decent starting point - the most important point in the entire document is the acceptance that CairnGorm has been left behind and needs major investment to get snowsports capacity back.


A positive comment!

WickRatson


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 17.46hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
Alan,

You are coming up with very valid, solidly built points. we all appreciate the effort you have taken to be a integral part of the skiing community, however nearly every point raised has an issue. with no real constructive criticism. other than spending £7m in wind data. (Thread Specific)

ML


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 18.22hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
dhorsley Wrote:
ML Wrote:
I challenge you alan, can you say anything positive about the plan?

Clearly you didn't actually read what Alan wrote in the post above yours.

Quote:That need not be a major issue if HIE listens locally and consults widely. The work done on the report can be tweaked making use of local knowledge and form a decent starting point - the most important point in the entire document is the acceptance that CairnGorm has been left behind and needs major investment to get snowsports capacity back.

A positive comment!


It's not a positive comment, its only this:

it's a good plan if they only did this this and this.
It's a good thing but I don't agree with bla bla bla....

There is a old saying, nothing coun'ts before the but, I could say "if" in this regard as well.

alan


Posts: 10750
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2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 18.27hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
^Not spending £7m on data, but collecting data before spending up to £7m on a lift! If it read like spending £7m on weather data my bad!

It is something which crops up in various points through the report that there is a lack of reliable information and empirical data on which to take evidence based decisions.

As an example of something where the intent is good, and from the skiing perspective it looks good at first glance, but the outcome would be poor is snow making on the M2.

Aside from the fact physical installation of underground utilities wouldnít be doable on quite a bit of it, the old rules donít apply anymore but the laws of physics certainly still do!

A key factor for making snow aside from putting snow where it is useful and improves the mountain flow and visitor experience, is to as far as possible make snow where ablation will be minimised for any given temperature.

Itís not mild temps that are the real enemy on CairnGorm, itís wind driven rain and warm hairdryer winds. Weíve seen a full fence depth of snow stripped from the hugely exposed M2 literally overnight, while much less damage is done on Lee slopes and deep in the corries. Gully storage of snow has always been important in Scottish Snowsports for the reason it offers a degree of protection from warm / wet winds.

It takes a lot of snow and ferocious winds to drive snow all the way down the Ciste Gully to the Carpark, but when it does happen the snow can be surprisingly durable for the altitude because of the degree of shelter. The ablation rate is far lower per įc than on an exposed ridge.

A consequence is that snow making becomes more viable lower down in more sheltered areas even though mean temperatures may be slightly higher. Thatís why the lower Ciste looks very favourable for snow making as far as CairnGorm goes.

Random occasional temperature sampling suggests cold air drainage down the Ciste creates a cold hollow compared to mid Station on the Cas side. WH offered with financial support from several Save the Ciste members to put weather instruments in the lower Ciste to get hard data but we were knocked back.

growwild


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 21.27hrs on Tue 18 Dec 18
Would an electrified braveheart chair get ya to the snow in the ciste?

Splashing out on a base station etc for it tae open early seems daft but sticking a chair in for better ground should be looked at if it can be done cheap, it can be slowly developed after that if they bring the number in with their plans...


Snowweasel


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 14.34hrs on Wed 19 Dec 18
I guess I haven't got as much emotional investment in Cairngorm as many Winterhighlanders. But I learned to ski there in the 1970's,my sons all made their first turns up by the Ptarmigan and Cairngorm/ Aviemore has been a place for many happy holidays, so I do care about the place.
My take is that this report is generally positive and some proper uplift is long,long overdue. An express quad in the Cas? Sign me up! Snow making ? Yes!
The Funicular was an expensive mistake, but that train has long since left the station. The devil is in the detail regarding siteing base stations/ lifts, but this is a report, it is not the plan.
I'm just glad that someone is talking about investing in the place!

alan


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 23:28
2nd Dec 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 16.47hrs on Wed 19 Dec 18
Snowweasel Wrote:
this is a report, it is not the plan.


This needs repeating!



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.50hrs Wed 19 Dec 18 by alan.

Attachments: 05B62B4D-EAD5-4627-B443-4F2F900D0AA4.jpeg (156kB)  
Shredandjammy


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 21.18hrs on Wed 19 Dec 18
This is a report itís not the plan.
And there is no 27 million quid!

growwild


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 05.32hrs on Thu 20 Dec 18
Mind this [scotland.forestry.gov.uk]

Its something like that on different scales or bits of that's needed at each resort along with enough snow making to open enough to start early and last long enough till the rest is whaled up or nature takes over...

I also have doubt they'll be running the roller coaster much in a good winter, looks a pain tae dig oot, good idea but make it huge. Should be a zip line going down to the loch too, Gondola/chair going up fae there tae make use of the land with bikes and snow and aw the other reasons....
'
I'm not putting too much doom and glooom and same auld shit for they tramps etc they way they seem tae be going and thinking is awright and there's nothing bang out of order in their plans, I thought the place was on it's way out and going to have very little uplift, chalets all about and more a boring expensive place with very little tae offer anyone that wanted a mixture of cool, chill and near death. The snow making they would get would be just tae charge a fortune tae visit santa and sledge, not really for boarding or skiing... Now it looks like they have something with a few tweaks could really work, it could even work enough tae expand again in the ciste...

Putting a gondola/chair fae Glenmore up tae it current base station would be what should have been talked about and priced on that report along with pricing the ciste for the reason on opening early... That and a few things out the nevis base area plan would be a good starting point to really rebuild this into a 'resort'........



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05.34hrs Thu 20 Dec 18 by growwild.

Geridiver


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Re: CairnGorm Mountain - SE Group Report - Read it here!
Date Posted: 13.10hrs on Mon 24 Dec 18
Having read and re-read the report, I think SE Group and HIE are having a laugh at skiers, boarders and taxpayers expense.
Take for example the comments in the Executive Summary pages and page 55 to mitigate against the closures of the road, Funicular etc. due to the frequent adverse weather effects experienced by Cairngorm. By the way, are these same adverse weather effects not experienced by anywhere else in Scotland, or in fact at any other ski area in the UK? The road is frequently closed by drifting snow that can take hours to clear sometimes not at all for days, "the most significant section is the length of road between the Ciste carpark upto the beginning of the one way downhill section". In other words the link road. How many people did not know that? The SE Group answer is to build a 1000m snow fence on the uphill side of the road. In my opinion that would make things a whole lot worse. How many times have you seen snow drifts and floods across roads that are lower than the surrounding land, just as the link road is?
SE Group then go on to say, and I find this really hilarious, "if this technique does not prove to be effective, a more permanent solution of snowsheds should be investigated". What they are saying is spend a load of money on snowfencing which will not work, then rip it all out and build snowsheds. No prizes for guessing who is paying for all this work! It is also almost a recommendation to at least re-instate basic facilities at the Ciste.
This company was paid circa £88k for these words of wisdom. There are other sections of this report that do not make sense, which I will comment on later.
If you can see fault in my assessment of this, I would like to hear your reasoning.

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