Midlothian Snowsports Centre
Midlothian Snow Sports Centre
|Former names||Hillend Ski Centre|
|Address||Biggar Road, Edinburgh, EH10 7DU|
|Location||Hillend, Midlothian, Scotland|
|Type||Dry ski-slope and snowsports centre|
The Midlothian Snowsports Centre, formerly the Hillend Ski Centre, is the longest dry ski slope in Europe, situated near Hillend near Edinburgh, South East Scotland. It is a national training centre for Scottish Olympians, with 29 having been trained there as of 2010, including Finlay Mickel, a former British number one downhill skier.
Being just outside the Edinburgh City limits to the south of the city beyond the southern bypass road and in the shadow of the Pentland Hills, the centre is operated by Midlothian Council. It is used for skiing, snowboarding and snowblading, and social use includes lessons for adults and children occurring all year round.
An outdoor facility, all runs are made of matting that is suitable for use all year round, and floodlighting allows the slopes to be used in the evenings. A misting system ensures the slopes remain lubricated to increase speed and to create a more realistic surface.
It has two main slopes, both of which are accessed from the top of the long tow and chairlift. It also houses a 20m nursery slope next to the café 360, two combined 20m nursery slopes positioned next to a premium tubing set-up which both include magic carpet style uplifts, and also a jump slope. Uplift to the main slopes is provided by a chairlift and two button lifts.
In 2010, the centre faced closure due operating at a loss and with Midlothian Council facing funding shortages. In March 2010, with losses of half a million pounds a year, and with fewer than 20% of the centre's users coming from Midlothian, a five-month cost cutting plan was implemented, with the council due to consider either sale or lease by August 2010. A Facebook group campaigning to save the centre attracted 26,000 members. The council duly agreed a plan to keep the centre open, involving £600,000 of investment being spent on it by Sportscotland, and the sale of green belt land near the site to developers.