Media release: Developing for the future at Nevis Range!

Nevis Range Fort William
Pic. Trevor Martin

NEVIS Range Mountain Experience is delighted to announce a transformative £4m project that will secure the future of the company for generations to come.

On Tuesday 05 October 2021, ground will be broken for a 22-bedroom hotel, 24-berth bunkhouse, bar and restaurant, bike shop, children’s activity centre, childcare facilities, and a covered courtyard with an event space.

The project supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise is expected to take 12 months to build with a planned opening in late November 2022.

Fifty jobs are expected to be created as a direct result of the new buildings.

Chris O’Brien, managing director of Nevis Range, said: “The hotel and bunkhouse are being developed as a direct response to the wishes of our customers. We’ve carried out multiple surveys and our people have let us know that they want to see accommodation here on site at Nevis Range. We’ll be sure to add our own ski and bike led twist to operations!

“I’m incredibly excited about the addition of a third restaurant to the Nevis Range site. The Pinemarten Café and the Snowgoose have been designed to operate at high volumes, providing a speedy service to get people back out onto the hill as quickly as possible. This restaurant will be serving Scottish Highland Tapas, all locally-sourced, and a huge selection of Scottish drinks showcasing some of the incredible local suppliers that we’re so fortunate to have based here in Lochaber.

“The childcare facilities are a part of this development that is incredibly important to all of us here at Nevis Range. Facilities will be available for customers but also the staff. Nevis Range is a fair work employer that has no gender pay gap and a commitment to keep on improving. The provision of childcare for staff will aid our goal of a more gender-diverse workforce at the same time as giving more options to our customers.

“Net Zero and climate change are at the top of our agenda as we continue to develop. EV charge points, hydro power and a locally-sourced produce strategy are just the beginning for us. We are currently engaged in a carbon footprint analysis study that will help us roadmap the best way for us to achieve Net Zero status.

“This project is possible due to the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise [HIE]. HIE are investing £800k into this project and I’m delighted that both parties share a vision for the creation of Quality, Sustainable Adventure Tourism Experiences right here in the Outdoor Capital of the UK.”


Media contact:

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

Image attached: Please credit Trevor Martin

From left to right – Ian Sykes – Nevis Range chair, Chris O’Brien – Nevis Range managing director, Alastair Nicolson – HIE area manager of Lochaber & Wester Ross, Alison Gainsford – HIE head of Business Growth, John Sutherland – Nevis Range activities director

Notes for editors:

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Nevis Range Development Company (NRDC) mission, board, products, and vision for the future

Our mission:

“To entertain and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled adventure experiences for all the family that make Nevis Range the world’s premier adventure destination!”

As a business, along with the development projects, we also have a set of guiding principles as an employer to help us achieve our mission.

  • We are one team – Our great colleagues make the difference. It’s when we share our skills, knowledge and experience we become one team. Diversity makes us strong. We are committed to employing more women is senior positions and the creation of childcare facilities will increase our ability to do so.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit – The day we stop acting like entrepreneurs, we’ll be just another resort.
  • Straightforward and open-minded – We value diversity in people and ideas, as much as in personal style.
  • Cost-conscious – Being cost-conscious is about keeping an eye on expenses and making smart, sustainable choices even in the small, everyday things.

Nevis Range has a strong business minded Board of Directors each bringing a variety of business and community development skills to the operation.

Chris O’Brien, managing director

Chris joined the business in 2017 as commercial manager, bringing a track record of achievement executing national and international strategic marketing campaigns across the sports, leisure and hospitality sectors.

Currently a director of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce; director of Highland Tourism and a former destination manager of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, Chris is a well-known figure in Scottish tourism.

Ian A Sykes, chair

Ian served five years in the RAF followed by three years as an outdoor pursuit’s instructor and a further three years with British Antarctic Survey. Along with Ian Sutherland, Ian started the retail group of mountaineering shops, ‘Nevisport’. He was involved in the initial planning and construction of Nevis Range and was its original MD when it opened in 1989. Ian started Nevis Radio, a small community station in Fort William and was involved in the setting up of Fort William as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’. Ian remained at Nevis Range Development Company for 12 years until retirement when he then became chair.

John Sutherland, activities director

John studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduating with an Honours degree in design. John has worked with art departments on several major films and adverts, and latterly on location as a mountain safety specialist.

As activities director, John is responsible for the quality of experience delivered in all customers facing activities at Nevis Range, including bike tracks, snowsports and tree adventure.

John has been involved with developments of Nevis Range from an early age and has worked on the mountain as a ski instructor, leading to an in-depth knowledge of the business and a desire to see the continued success of the company as an all-year-round visitor destination.

Craig Williamson, board director

Craig qualified as a chartered accountant in 1983 with Ernst & Young, before a 30-year career in private equity, working in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands for The Royal Bank of Scotland, Charterhouse, Landal Green Parks and Standard Life.

Craig has Wide experience of European management buyouts, equity and debt financing structures and holiday park operations. Craig retired in October 2014.

Ian Sutherland, board director

From 1965-1966 Ian was outdoor mountaineering instructor at Applecross. From 1971-2004, he was director/ founder of Nevisport Ltd., outdoor mountaineering equipment retail. Ian was a member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team from 1962-2014 and from 1966-1970 he was deputy team leader and team leader from 1970-1980.

Ian was director/ founder of Nevis Range Ltd. Fort William and from 2004-present he was director/ founder of Fort Nevis ltd. property co.

George Rice, accountant

George trained as a chartered accountant and worked for five years as a CA for a medium-sized central belt company followed by five years with KPMG. George then joined Sharles as an accountant where he worked until retirement. George assists a number of businesses and third sector organisation with financial advice. George’s role as a director of Nevis Range is providing financial due diligence, management accounts and as a financial adviser.

The Nevis Range Mountain Experience lies seven miles north of Fort William, and south of Spean Bridge. It was opened in 1989 to develop a skiing/tourism facility on the mountain of Aonach Mor in the shadow of Ben Nevis. The development was undertaken due to a demand for skiing in Scotland that was inadequately served by existing facilities.

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 downhill mountain bike trails with gondola access. Home to a round of the Mountain Bike World Cup
  • 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

Nevis Range is a Living Wage employer.

The Nevis Range Mountain Gondola, unique in Britain, was originally constructed to transport skiers and snowboarders to the slopes. Today, the gondola whisks some 200,000 visitors each year to 650m where they can eat at the Snowgoose restaurant, walk out to the mountain viewpoints, or simply enjoy the stunning highland scenery. The gondola is also widely used by hillwalkers, climbers, paragliders and hang gliders on their journey to the clouds. There are 74 gondolas in total and each one takes up to six adults.

Nevis Range has significantly diversified, creating a world-class downhill mountain bike track together with a series of world-renowned cross-country mountain bike trails in the Leanachan Forest. As a result, the venue has hosted UK and international mountain bike events including several award-winning rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup since 2002 and a UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2007.

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