The Nevis Range, near Fort William, Scotland, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday when it reopens for the winter season of skiing. Originally a ski resort, it has grown and expanded to serve mountain bikers, including hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2007 and many UCI World Cups. Since its inception in 1989, Nevis Range has welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors through its doors.
In early 2000, as part of the diversification of the business into an all-year round resort, the business created a downhill mountain bike track with gondola uplift that has hosted seven mountain bike World Cups and in 2007 hosted the worlds. The downhill track is widely celebrated as a classic, one of the toughest physical and technical tracks, on the UCI World Cup circuit and has firmly put Nevis Range and Fort William on the world map.
The mountain gondola, the only one of its kind in Britain, was originally constructed on the slopes of Aonach Mor as a way to transport skiers to the pistes. However, from day one, the gondola became a highly acclaimed visitor attraction in its own right, attracting around 200,000 visitors annually.
Earlier this year, Nevis Red, a new red graded cross country trail with gondola uplift, was opened and the number of leisure mountain bike riders more than doubled during the summer months.
"The past twenty years has been both exciting and challenging. We can't pretend that the ski industry has been an easy ride, but after twenty years, we're still in business," Marian Austin of Nevis Range.
"As part of the diversification of the business into an all year round resort, we opened our first downhill mountain bike track in 2000. The new Nevis Red trail, opened this summer, is not only an integral part of our plan to grow the business, it has also opened up the hill to competent cross country mountain bikers. It's a good fit with the already popular Witch's Trails cross country tracks in Leanachan forest at the foot of Aonach Mor."
Nevis Range is located in the "Outdoor Capital" - a not-for-profit community company established to promote Fort William and Lochaber as the best place to experience the outdoors in the United Kingdom.
"We have our sights set firmly on the future and are working to improve existing facilities. We also have ambitious expansion plans that will add even more activities for our visitors over the next couple of years."
Nevis Range will host the Fort William downhill and four cross rounds of the 2010 World Cup on June 5-6.
For more details on Nevis Range, visit www.nevisrange.co.uk.