Surprisingly skiing is not something that people immediately associate with Scotland. Most winter sports enthusiasts head for the popular European destinations such as Chamonix, Zermatt or Val-d’Isere when taking a ski holiday. However, in recent times not only have snow conditions in Scotland improved, but the facilities on offer at its ski resorts have also gone up to another level. Scotland now has five top-quality ski resorts, all with something different to offer first-time skiers and experts alike. The five resorts deliver a wide range of activities for winter sports fans all of which are carried out in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Over the last two years during the pandemic with foreign travel somewhat restricted, many skiers have looked closer to home to get their adrenalin fix. Now one of the things that may put people off skiing in Scotland is the location of the highlands and the perceived long drive up to the snow, especially if you live in the midlands or Southern part of the UK. One way to overcome this is to take a flight up to Edinburgh airport. Once there you can take advantage of the reasonably priced car hire at Edinburgh airport and continue your journey by road. Using this mode of travel has two distinct advantages, not only does it significantly reduce the amount of time you spend in the car, but it also allows you to witness some of the best scenery on the planet during your leisurely drive to the resort.
Now we’ve given you some reasons why you should go to Scotland for your winter sports fix maybe it’s time to examine the pros and cons of each of the five resorts to help you choose the perfect location for your Scottish Skiing holiday.
Glencoe Mountain Ski Resort
Glencoe Mountain, which is also known as White Corries, is the oldest ski area in the UK and is well known for its relaxed vibe. While not the largest of the resorts it is renowned for having both the most consistent snow, which allied to some of the best natural terrain and amazing scenery around makes it a great choice for your Scottish ski trip. The resort is famed for its steep runs including probably Scotland’s most difficult black run named The Flypaper. However, don’t worry if you are a beginner or a less proficient skier as there are plenty of gentler slopes containing nice long runs. Glencoe is situated approximately 2 hours drive from Edinburgh airport. If you don’t have or want to take your ski equipment with you hire is available from the hire shop in the car park.
Glenshee Ski Centre
Glenshee is the largest of Scotland’s ski areas and spans three valleys, with a continually evolving lift system that is more than capable of dealing with large crowds. Many beginner-friendly slopes make it a good destination for families. Glenshee is probably the ideal choice if you are looking for a variety of slopes for both skiing and snowboarding in a great terrain park. In fact, one run Glen Maol, is widely regarded as the best piste in Scotland. You should be aware that Glenshee is a very popular destination due to its size and being only two hours drive from Edinburgh airport can be especially busy at weekends. Ski and snowboard hire is available at the resort allowing you to travel light if you so desire.
Cairngorm Mountain Resort
Cairngorm mountain is the most reliable resort when it comes to snow. Cairngorm gets more and longer-lasting snow than anywhere else in the British Isles. A popular destination for skiers and snowboarders since the 1960s, Cairngorm has slopes suitable for advanced, intermediate and novice skiers. Cairngorm Mountain has long since been thought of as Scotland’s most popular resort, which means it can get really busy during Christmas and school holidays. The ski season at Cairngorm usually runs from December to late April.
While it can be subject to periods of adverse weather there are numerous non-skiing activities close by that you can enjoy. Cairngorm Mountain is also home to Britain’s only free-roaming reindeer herd. Flying into Edinburgh airport you will be faced with a longer drive than the two resorts listed above as it is 150 miles or around 3 hours, but the scenery on offer during the journey will take away much of the pain.
The Lecht Ski Centre
One of Scotland’s smaller and quieter resorts it has become a hit with families and beginners. This is because of the magic carpet lift, and smaller pistes lower down the slopes that are ideal for children and people new to the slopes. While many of the runs are shorter than those in the other resorts they are invariably less crowded with much smaller queues, meaning you can get more time on the snow. Being part of the Cairngorm national park the scenery on show while you are skiing is amazing. The ski season here usually runs from January to March, although it can extend into April. Lecht ski centre is approximately 114 miles from Edinburgh airport via the M90 and A93.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort
The Nevis Range is Scotland’s newest resort which only opened in 1989 and contains some of the most challenging runs in the UK. With legendary terrain and unbelievable views, it is a resort often favoured more by advanced and expert skiers. As such, there is frequently a lack of queues allowing you to maximise ski time. At the top of the resort, you are treated to breathtaking views of both Ben Nevis and Loch Eil. The short drive to Fort William means there is no shortage of places to enjoy some well-earned après-ski food, drink and entertainment. The Nevis Range is 139 miles from Edinburgh airport by car but the drive is well worth it.
So, that is a brief outline of what you can expect when you visit one of Scotland’s five ski centres, hopefully, the information above will help when you come to choosing the destination of your ski holiday. Maybe you will forgo the pleasures of the Alps and trek up to Scotland and drink in the beauty of the Highlands.
So, if you’re looking for an amazing skiing experience, head to Scotland! There are plenty of resorts to choose from, and you won’t be disappointed with the stunning scenery and challenging slopes. Have fun!