The early snowfall (photos) that caused such havoc in Edinburgh over November and December has been a welcome boost to Scotland's winter sports centres. Nearly 15,000 skiers and snowboarders hit Scotland's slopes over the new year holiday weekend.
Scotland's five resorts scrambled to open earlier than usual in early December, with so much snow that it was difficult to keep mountain roads open, but all five mountain ski areas are now open for business.
"This year's winter sports season has got off to a terrific early start and is already shaping up to be a record-breaker with Cairngorm, Glenshee, the Nevis Range, The Lecht and Glencoe all opening early this year and recording a phenomenal 77,000 skier days since the end of November - a considerable increase on this time last year," said Sports Minister Shona Robison.
"This builds on the growth we saw during last year's bumper ski season, which was the best we had seen for 14 years and contributed at least £37.5 million to Scotland's economy."
The recent heavy snow and the promise of more in January, has come at a vital time for Scotland's snowsports industry which has struggled to survive after a run of mild winters earlier this millennium.
It is estimated that for every £1 spent on the slopes a further £4 is spent with local businesses.