News from the snow
The Lecht, located in the north eastern Cairngorms, is one of the most intimate, friendly and innovative snowsport centres in Scotland. In recent years the resort has been at the forefront of developing alternative snow and mountain sports in Scotland, and also added its first chair lift for the 1999-2000 season. The Lecht opened in the 1977/78 season with very limited facilities. Three portable ski tows were used and a small hut served as the cafe, seating around 30 people. In those days the car park was only big enough for 50 cars and ski hire only had 40 pairs of skis (a figure which has now grown to more than 600). Tickets were sold over the counter at the hut/cafe and the ski school shared a space with the ski hire. Over the following decade all profits were sunk back into the company and there was a steady expansion in all departments. Longer permanent lifts were installed with all the hill equipment having to be flown in due to planning regulations. New buildings were erected for ski hire and the workshop whilst a new toilet block added to the cafeteria building. In 1986 the company expanded into Glenlivet Estate, initially with two surface tows. Since then a second car park as well as five more tows have been installed in that area. The first piste groomer arrived in 1985 with the purchase of a further 2 machines in 1987/88 and another one in 1995. European money was invested in the company with major expansion to infrastructure. Access roads were improved, along with the building of a new workshop and first aid room. The resort has some of the best snowmaking facilities in Scotland with snow cannons on five runs. For the 2004-5 season a superb new day lodge opened, at a cost of £1m ($2m US), it includes all facilities on three levels with a bar, snack bar and offices on the third level and superb views over the surrounding area. There is no slopeside lodging, with the nearest village at Tomintoul. The nearest ski areas are Cairngorm and Glenshee - Lecht is an easy day trip from either and can sometimes have good snow conditions when snow is scant or lifts closed by poor weather conditions at other centres.
Composed of largely parallel roadside drag lifts, the Lecht has also invested in snow making technology in recent seasons, paying dividends in snow cover through unpredictable Scottish winter weather. It also offers a range of alternatives to skiing and boarding and opened a new £1m base lodge with all facilities. The nearest hotel is in Corgarff.
Racers can time themselves on the race piste with its own computer timing system and Rapid slalom poles.
A big plus point for the Lecht is that being inland it's more sheltered than some other Scottish ski resorts, therefore avoiding high winds.
Non-outdoor/snow based family facilities in the area are limited, as is the choice of eateries. Aviemore is a possible base for ski trips to the Lecht and it has a whole host of family facilities.
The resort offers plenty of varied terrain for boards with the Buzzard and Falcon runs offering challenging terrain and the Harrier black run testing even the most experienced rider.