Nethy Bridge Ski School

Owners/occupiers

Keith Bateman - Ski School Owner and Chief Instructor in the ski school uniform.

Construction

Based at the Cairngorm Ski Area and owned and operated by Keith & Shirley Bateman from 1989 to 2000. Nethy Bridge Ski School was the first ski school in Scotland to use only qualified instructors and concentrated on pre-booked group and family holidays, using local hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation plus hotels and bed and breakfast establishments in Aviemore. A large volume of the business was from Ireland.

The ski school was an extension of Sports Hire which was started in 1986 hiring bicycles, tennis racquets and fishing tackle, and selling gifts, books and maps from the small wooden building which was sat by the Post Office at the bottom of Dell Road. The business moved to the old bar (known locally as Budgie’s bar) at the rear of the Nethy Bridge Hotel and remained there until about 1993 when the proposed sale of the hotel prompted the owners to buy the old police station and convert it into a shop and self-contained flat. The changing nature of the business as more and more ski bookings were via the Internet and customers’ ski hire equipment was delivered to them at their holiday address, combined with a big down-turn in summer business lead to the re-organisation of the business. In 1994 the building was sold to the Renton’s who turned the building into a Bed and Breakfast establishment and the ski school operated from an office and store with no on-street premises, leading to a decrease in work for the owners and an increase in profitability. The cycle hire section of the business was sold to the Warnes at Kimberley. Changes in weather patterns over the last 2 decades of the 20th century made skiing a difficult business to be in with irregular snow falls and erratic weather. This led to the Ski School contracting-out, first their equipment hire, and then their ski instruction, maintaining only a ski school manager and thus the business became purely a tour operation. In 2000 the Tour Operator part of the business was passed on to Richard Eccles of Nethy House and the remaining equipment was sold.