The SavetheCiste team have not been idle during recent weeks. It may seem like an easy job…….fix the chairlifts and get them spinning again. That’s certainly the aim but there is a lot to do as the objective is not just to reinstate things as they were, but to improve upon it.
We are exploring full downloading on both chairs and easier unloading areas so both chairs are more user friendly and suitable for lower abilities allowing them access and egress from the Top Basin via Coire na Ciste.
We will also this autumn be having a good look at the plans for Mountain Bike trails and how they and the ski runs would together fit in best with the chairlifts. This may or may not show that relocating the top of the Ciste Chair is desirable as was proposed by CML in 2012, but it is critical a timely decision is taken on the location of the Chairlift Mid-Station , so that a replacement for the old Boardwalk, be it a boardwalk, footpath or combination can be provided that will tie in neatly with both chairlifts in the future.
We also have team members who are investigating the fresh water and waste water treatment facilities at the Coire na Ciste base station. The electricity supply capacity has also to be factored in. There are 2 team members who are looking into the possibilities for business diversification in the Ciste, particularly around the base area.
We were also pleased to receive from Natural Retreats, a report into the potential for a small scale Hydro scheme within Coire na Ciste [proposed scheme extents indicated in red on map below]. It’s something that looks quite feasible and has excellent potential to provide a more than useful return on investment. Works for such a scheme could potentially be tied in with snow making providing a direct improvement for snowsports in the lower part of the Ciste, while the required ground works could also potentially be combined with the desire of the operator to provide a quadbike sized track that will assist in overhaul and future upkeep of the Coire na Ciste Chairlift.
We are acutely aware of the capital cost considerations and that plans have to have solid year round business potential, but it is an exciting and interesting project, in part thanks to the unique opportunities Coire na Ciste presents compared to Coire Cas. Which is why Coire na Ciste is essential to CairnGorm Mountain’s and thus Strathspey’s future potential.
We’ll continue to post up periodic updates when we’ve anything interesting to report. In the meantime, comments, suggestions and feedback are always welcome and please keep spreading the word about the SavetheCiste petition – the more signatures the stronger the case for reinstatement of the Chairlifts and a new better future for snowsports on CairnGorm Mountain.