Following today's Covid update at the Scottish Parliament, hopefully a spring season on the Horizon! Of course it now depends on how the weather pans out as well as what happens with Covid restrictions.
We won't have clarity or any certainty until nearer the time when the actual new regulations are published in light of how the virus situation is progressing. However the indicative timeframe is that the currently ‘enhanced’ Level 4 restrictions brought into law on 8th Jan (which included the explicit requirement for the snowsports areas to close) will be rolled back on 5th April.
Our current understanding is that if things Covid wise stay on track, ski areas that are in a position to can resume level 4 operations from Easter Monday.
What does that mean in practice?
Level 4 travel restrictions limit access to the snowsports areas to those who live within the same local authority as the snowsports area or those resident in a local authroity where the base facilities and carpark of a given ski area (ie your start/end point for the day) are within five miles of your council boundary.
To clarify that point it is not distance by road but as the crow flies from the council boundary, but the interpretation at the time the ski areas were last open requires there to be a direct road route across said boundary.
As per early Jan, that meant:
Glencoe: Highland + Argyll & Bute residents.
Glenshee: Aberdeenshire (NOT CITY) + Perth & Kinross residents.
Lecht: Moray + Aberdeenshire (NOT CITY) residents.
Historical seasons suggests the balance of probabilities are not in favour of Glenshee reopening this season and we gather for differing reasons Nevis Range and CairnGorm will not open for snowsports. It is thus likely that if there is uplift again this season it will be at Glencoe and snow permitting The Lecht.
On that point it is worth noting the Lecht can come back from nothing to open in April, indeed it has done so even in May in the recent past!
Any hope for non locals?
An indicative date of 26th April has been given for mainland Scotland to move down from Level 4. Travel restrictions between level 3 mainland local authorities would be lifted, so if all mainland Scotland goes to Level 3 then access to the ski areas that could operate would be unrestricted within Scotland.
Had the ski areas been able to reopen on 26th April last year there would have been some fantastic spring riding for weeks in the West. So it's watching Covid numbers, watching the weather and watching the snow cover.
^Always hope... Coire Cas, CairnGorm on Sat 12th May 2012, a year that saw not a single day of lift served riding in the whole of March across all five Scottish Snowsports Areas!
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.37hrs Tue 16 Mar 21 by winterhighland.