94 year-old skier welcomed back to Glasgow ski slopes once more after lockdown lull
94 year old, Enrico Zanotti who has skied every day at Glasgow’s Snow Factor for the past 20 years until lockdown finally returned to the slopes he knows and loves today.
Well-known to the skiing community for his dedication to ski every day on the man-made slopes of Snow Factor in Glasgow’s Braehead, Mr Zanotti was given a life-time membership for the centre seven years ago.
But to his disappointment, he had to hang up his well-worn skiing boots on March 12 when the snow centre was forced to close due to the pandemic.
However, on Friday the 94 year-old Glaswegian Italian who has been skiing for over 83 years, was given VIP treatment at Snow Factor as he was welcomed back to his favourite slopes before the official opening of the centre tomorrow.
Jamie Smith, owner of Snow Factor said: "He had the slopes to himself today with two instructors (Sean Myles and Natilia King) there to make sure he was okay as Enrico had a head operation not terribly long ago and this was the first time he was on skies so we wanted to make sure he was safe.
"He loved it and said he was slightly nervous about how his skiing would be but I thought, ‘You’ve skied every day for 83 years- I think you’ll manage!”
He caught the slopes at their best as Mr Smith commented that a by-product of the slopes being closed for so long is that the team had time to perfect their peaks.
He said: “We’ve been able to work on it all the way through lockdown so it’s just gorgeous.
"He got the perfect piste- a firm base and perfect for carving on.”
Mr Zanotti originally comes from Northern Italy but moved to Glasgow after the second World War when him and his mum opened a cafe in Scotland’s biggest city.
Talking about Mr Zanotti’s personality, Jamie said: “He is everyone’s favourite grandfather. All the staff love him because he is very friendly and he is just one of life’s smiley, good guys and everyone here looks out for him.”
“Given that he is 94 and still going like a train there’s probably some evidence that skiing and mountain sports are good for you.”
“There’s no doubt he will be back tomorrow.”
Snow Factor will be officially open to the public from 9am-6pm tomorrow onwards, open seven days a week.
Due to social distancing rules, 160 people are allowed on the 200,000 cubic metre slope at the one time.
Mr Smith commented he can’t wait to re-open the business after 10 months of closure.
He said: "Just on lost revenue from the month of March till now is about 3 million pounds and our energy cost is about 40,000 a month and we had to incur that all the way through because otherwise you’d not have had the UK’s biggest indoor real snow centre but the UK’s wettest shopping mall.”
"I’m looking forward to the skiing community coming back and doing what it does and we’re hopeful to welcome more people back when we open.”