Cairngorm Mountain

(Cairngorm Ski Resort, CairnGorm Ski Area)

Britain's best known, most popular and highest winter snow-sports centre is located in Coire Cas on the northwestern slopes of Cairn Gorm in Highland Council Area. Known as Cairngorm Mountain, the resort is located at the end of a spectacular road, which extends from Aviemore, 7½ miles (12 km) to the northwest, and offer fine views over Loch Morlich and Glenmore Forest Park. Popular with skiers from the last decade of the 19th C., it was in the 1950s that serious attempts were made to establish a commercial ski resort here, when the Cairngorm Sports Development Fund was created. In 1961, a chair-lift opened to transport skiers to a middle station at 1080m (3543 feet) and top station 164m (538 feet) below the summit. The village of Aviemore developed as the principal accommodation centre. Further tows were later added in Coire na Ciste to the northeast and the UK's highest restaurant was developed in the Ptarmigan dome near the top of the mountain. Around 2000, this dome was dismantled and re-erected at the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre, and a new building erected in conjunction with the building of the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, which opened in 2001.

There are now 25 different ski runs served by four chairlifts and thirteen tows, providing transport for around 6000 skiers on a daily basis. In an attempt to minimise ecological damage, visitors are retained within the ski area (which extends to 598 ha / 1478 acres) where possible and summer funicular visitors are not allowed out of the Ptarmigan building.

The resort now includes 19 miles (30 km) of ski runs and attracts around 210,000 people annually (2016), comprising 120,000 in the winter season (highly variable dependent on snow cover) and 90,000 in summer. The facilities are owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government's regional development agency for the North of Scotland, and leased to commercial operators.

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