Media release: Nevis Range to turn back the clock to 1989 to celebrate 30 years of adventure


ON Saturday 21 December 2019, hundreds of locals and visitors are expected to flock to The Nevis Range Mountain Experience, near Fort William, to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of Scotland’s leading snowsports, mountain biking and outdoor activities destinations.

During the day, all visitors can ski or snowboard, or take a gondola, for the same price as it was back in 1989!

A Gondola Day Ticket will be just £3.50 and a Full Day Snowsports Ticket only £12.50 [tickets must be purchased by 12:00 on Friday 20 December 2019].

The fun-packed celebrations will continue from 17:00 until 00:00 with an action-filled programme of free entertainment in a heated marquee next to the Gondola Base Station. The celebrations will include Celtic fire dancers, PyroCeltica, inspirational and informative talks from Nevis Range legends, a ceilidh with A’hooligan and The Gary Innes Band, local food and drink and loads of fantastic prizes and unique Nevis Range giveaways.

Running all day and night there will be a competition for the best dressed person wearing ski kit and / or apres ski kit from 1989, with an incredible prize of a ten-year snowsports season pass for Nevis Range!

Chris O’Brien, CEO of Nevis Range, said: “I’m immensely proud to be chief executive of this ever changing and ever progressing business! To be celebrating 30 years of the Nevis Range Mountain Experience is an incredible feeling, especially considering that this anniversary comes at such an exciting time.

“On the night. Ian ‘Spike’ Sykes and Ian ‘Suds’ Sutherland will be telling us all about the early days and history of Nevis Range, while Mike Jardine and Lesley Beck will give us the fascinating story of the UCI MTB World Cup. They’ll be plenty more guests, surprises and give-aways on the night as well as bands and even the fire dancers from PyroCeltica.

“I hope we’ll see a huge turnout to join us all in a 30th birthday to remember!”

Nevis Range will be laying on a free shuttle bus service from Fort William and Corpach to transport party goers to and from the venue where celebrations will resume from 17.00 to 00.00.

The first 50 people to get to Nevis Range for the evening’s party will receive a special Nevis Range giveaway.

The hugely popular PyroCeltica, who pioneer their own brand of ‘Celtic fire theatre’, will be getting the evening off to a jaw-dropping start, pushing the boundaries of performance and delivering high-energy and smoking hot showstoppers with a fusion of circus, music, dance and theatre melded together in flames.

Nevis Range founders, Ian Sykes (Spike) and Ian Sutherland (Suds), who were key in driving the original Nevis Range concept forward, will regale tales of how a group of close friends in a small, remote community with a ‘never give up’ attitude, rallied local businesses into action to raise a million pounds in less than a month in order to make their dream of a snowsports centre on Aonoch Mor in the 1980’s a reality.

They will also comment on the incredibly hard work and positive innovation that has gone in to securing the venue’s future as a renowned outdoor activities centre.

Mike Jardine and Lesley Beck from Rare Management, organisers of the annual UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, hosted at Nevis Range since 2002, will give a talk about the early days of mountain biking at Nevis Range and the development of the venue’s now legendary downhill track.

They will also focus on the multi-award winning success of the British round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2007; whilst giving a sneak preview of plans for the forthcoming Mountain Bike World Championships in 2023.

This will be followed by a fun-fuelled ceilidh, with local bands, A’hooligan and The Gary Innes Band, both guaranteed to get everyone up on their feet until home time at midnight!

‘Mad-trad’ group, A’hooligan, have been a favourite at Nevis Range ceilidhs for years; yet it will be particularly special night for award-winning accordionist and founding member of ‘super-group’, Mànran, Gary Innes, who was born and raised in Spean Bridge and was a Nevis Range ‘lifty’ [lift operator] in his teenage years.

Locally-brewed beers and lagers, some of the Nevis Range staff’s favourite, will be on sale from The Glen Spean Brewery Co pop-up bar all evening.


Media contact:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:| M: 07913 951717

Image attached: Construction of Gondola towers

Notes for editors:

Ticket Information on Saturday 21 December 2019

Gondola Day Tickets and Full Day Snowsports Tickets on Saturday 21 December 2019 are available now and must be pre booked on Please be aware, all discounted tickets (daytime only) for this date must be purchased by 12 noon on Friday 20 December 2019.

Shuttle Bus Information for Nevis Range 30th anniversary celebrations

Free shuttle buses from Fort William and Corpach to Nevis Range (and home again) will operate from 17:00 until 00:00 on Saturday 21 December. Nevis Range will also do a pick-up and drop-off from the Roy Bridge Village Hall and from the bus stop in Spean Bridge – please keep an eye on the Nevis Range Facebook page for the specific timings (as this will not be a shuttle service).

Nevis Range

Nevis Range, at the heart of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ – Fort William and Lochaber, was originally conceived to create employment in a recession hit Lochaber. With the new, bespoke snowmaking plant (announced a couple of weeks ago), an expanded beginners’ ski area serviced by a new travellator conveyor lift and improved snow fencing over the whole mountain are the latest additions to the ski area for the 2019 season. These innovations will guarantee season-long ski and snowboard lessons for beginners and excellent snow conditions for families from December, and for years to come.

The story of the initial development of Nevis Range can be read in Ian Sykes book ‘In the shadow of Ben Nevis’ and tells a great story about a small, remote community with a ‘never give up’ attitude. A group of close friends who explore snowy hills in search of potential ski runs and local businesses who raise a million pounds in less than a month to prove their resolve to potential funders only to have the funders pull out.

Ian Sykes, who was key in driving the original Nevis Range concept forward, became the first managing director and, although retired from this post, still has an active role on the board of the company.

Ian Sykes said: “It is great to still be a part of Nevis Range and to see Nevis Range grow as an innovative company that is working hard to secure their future in snowsports, mountain biking and all the other great outdoor activities that have been added over the years.“

In winter, the Nevis Range is a snowsports resort, in summer it is one of Scotland’s leading mountain bike destinations.

Since 2002, Nevis Range has hosted the hugely popular UK round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup as a direct result of the infrastructure and the development of top-class tracks and trails. It was also the venue for the week-long UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2007, which we will be hosted again in 2023. This will be an exciting opportunity to show the world again how excellent the mountain bike facilities are at Aonach Mor and throughout Scotland.

Nevis Range has scenic walks at the topstation and Tree Adventure, a series of high-wire adventure courses for all ages. The Snowgoose Restaurant, at the Top Gondola Station, with amazing views over Fort William, serves a wide range of locally-sourced food that is freshly prepared on the premises.

Scottish specialties are regularly on the menu and the bar stocks a selection of Scottish beer, gin and whisky. The Pinemarten Café, next to the Gondola Bases Station, open daily and serves good coffee and a selection of hot and cold snacks as well as main meals. The food is freshly-prepared on the premises from locally-sourced produce.

The Nevis Range timeline

  • 1930: Skiing is enjoyed on Aonach Mor, predominantly by local skiers.
  • 1968: The area’s full economic potential is recongnised.
  • 1974: A planning report is produced, sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board, concerning the prospect of a winter sports development in Fort William, and essentially developing the area as an all-year tourist destination.
  • 1986: The project wins approval from the Highland Region’s Planning Committee after numerous further commissioned feasibility studies concerning the engineering, ecology and viability of a development in Aonach Mor.
  • 1988: Construction begins and both public and private funding is secured for the development. Considerable effort is made to create an environmentally-acceptable area. All work carried out is in compliance with planning controls and restrictions put in place to protect the environment. Buildings are designed to blend with surrounding vegetation, helicopters are used for all construction work and no bulldozing is permitted throughout the process of piste creation.
  • 1989: Nevis Range is opened to the public!
  • 1997: The Braveheart Chair is constructed and opened to the public.
  • 1998: Discussions begin to extend the downhill track to the top station and provide gondola access for riders and their bikes.
  • 2000: The downhill track is opened to the public.
  • 2002: Nevis Range welcomes the first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
  • 2007: Nevis Range welcomes the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships
  • 2010: Tree Adventure was opened to the public.
  • 2011: The Pinemarten Café was opened at the Nevis Range Base Station.
  • 2018: A three-year partnership is formed with Trek Bicycles.
  • 2019: Nevis Range builds a snow making plant, creating an expanded beginners’ ski area serviced by a new travellator conveyor lift.

Nevis Range is a visitor attraction located north of Fort William and south of Spean Bridge. The Mountain Gondolas transport visitors, skiers and snowboarders and mountain bikers to 650m on the slopes of Aonach Mor. There are 74 gondolas in total and each one takes up to six adults.

Nevis Range Mountain Experience is a year-round mountain resort comprising …

  • All year-round mountain gondola visitor attraction
  • Winter snowsports area with equipment hire and Snowsports School.
  • All year-round mountain biking with 48km of cross-country mountain biking, as well as a cross country and downhill mountain bike trails with gondola access. Home to a round of the Mountain Bike World Cup
  • Tree Adventure high ropes courses – a series of aerial obstacle courses designed to provide the ultimate forest adventure to thrill seekers of all ages and abilities
  • Self-service Snowgoose restaurant and bar (gondola top station) and Pinemarten café bar (gondola base station) serving locally served produce prepared on site
  • Mountain walks to scenic viewpoints
  • Forest walks
  • Gift shop

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Contact: Paddy Cuthbert