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As for most businesses in the UK in lockdown, Nevis Range, Scotland’s leading snowsports, mountain biking and outdoor activities destination, near Fort William, is facing the biggest challenge in its 30-year history.
The management team are more determined than ever to get the venue back on its feet as soon as they possibly can after Government restrictions are eased. Two volunteer events have been organised, a bike trail maintenance day and a ‘clear the hill’ litter picking weekend.
The events are aimed at local mountain bike and snowsports enthusiasts, hillwalkers and climbers, who have spent time with family and friends at the venue on a regular basis over the summer, autumn and winter seasons and who are keen to give something back and help to get the venue back on its feet and fully operational after lockdown.
The dates for these events will be scheduled as soon as Scottish Government coronavirus restrictions are eased, and it is safe for both staff and local volunteers to work alongside each other. However, having shared their plans for their volunteer days on their social media channels in the last couple of weeks, the Nevis Range team has been overwhelmed by the hugely positive response to their call out. More than 50 people have already signed up to help Nevis Range bounce back after this difficult time with others expressing interest in getting involved.
Chris O’Brien, CEO of Nevis Range, said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the extremely positive reactions from the community to our volunteer days. We are incredibly fortunate to be part of an industry and community that stands together when things get tough.
‘We take our responsibility as a top visitor attraction in The Outdoor Capital of the UK very seriously, and we badly want to be operational as quickly as possible, when it is safe, because we understand the role that we play in keeping a huge number of supporting companies and individuals in business.
‘With the continued support of our incredible customers and wider Lochaber community Nevis Range will be back stronger than ever!’
During Nevis Range bike trail maintenance days – dig days – the team are keen to work with mountain bike enthusiasts who will help to get the downhill trails into top condition ahead of their reopening. The venue’s ‘clear the hill’ weekend is aimed at snowsports enthusiasts, as well as keen walkers and people who enjoy the beautiful landscape and natural beauty of Aonach Mor, who will help with litter picking and maintenance in order to get the hill ready for the 2020/21 ski season. Nevis Range will provide tools, food and a great atmosphere at both volunteer events.
With safety for staff and visitors always the main priority, the Nevis Range closed its doors on Friday March 21 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The venue had already had a tough winter season, with unprecedented storms affecting the first few months. At the end of February things were starting to look a lot brighter, with lots of snow on the hill and beautiful blue bird days; it truly promised to be one of the best spring ski seasons for many years.
Chris O’Brien added: ‘Following last year’s difficult winter and this year’s COVID-19 crisis, the company has run at a loss for two winter seasons.
‘In the peak of winter there are 135 people employed at Nevis Range. We need to protect these jobs and we have to continue to attract people to Lochaber not just to enjoy what we have to offer but also to stay in Lochaber’s incredible hotels, book with fantastic mountain guides and hire mountain bikes from the excellent dedicated shops in Fort William.’
For more information about volunteering on the Nevis Range bike trail maintenance days and ‘clear the hill’ litter picking weekend, email the Nevis Range marketing manager, Michelle Osterhaus on firstname.lastname@example.org