Scotland is home to five ski resorts which are open, snow and weather permitting, during the winter months and often through until as late as May.

If you are looking to go skiing or snowboarding in Scotland this winter here are some tips and advice to help  you find the best resort. Whilst Scottish resorts may lack some of the creature comforts and après scene found in Europe, they can offer spectacular views and varied terrain, and although weather and snow cover can be temperamental, Scottish ski areas have enjoyed some exceptional conditions at times over the past few seasons.

Glenshee Ski Centre

Glenshee is the largest of the resorts in Scotland, where a total of 22 lifts (including three chairlifts) and 36 runs extend across four mountains. It’s situated in north eastern Scotland, with Dundee or Perth being the closest cities. The resort offers a wide range of terrain for all abilities, from the long red and blue runs on the Glas Maol side, to the infamous steep (and often icy) Tiger run that leads off the Cairnwell chair.

Accommodation in the immediate area is slightly limited, but Braemar which is a short drive north and Blairgowrie south, do have a couple of hotels and a hostel, other than that there is not a huge amount to choose from.

Glencoe Mountain Resort

Glencoe is the oldest Scottish ski centre. It's also the most convenient to get to, being only an hour and a half from Glasgow it is the closest ski resort for most of the population. The resort sits above Rannoch Moor which provides incredible views over to Buachaille Etive Mòr.

Glencoe has 20 runs and 9 lifts, which consist of an access chairlift, a unique one man chair lift and a number of drag lifts and T-bars. The resort is home to some of Scotland’s steepest and most challenging terrain, and when the snow is good the off piste options are wide and varied. In 2013 Scotland’s first Freeride World Tour Qualifier was hosted at Glencoe. The resort recently invested in a Snow Factory snow making machine which even operates above freezing.

You can stay in 'micro lodges' on site or just over the road the Kingshouse Hotel is set to re-open in February 2019, there are a number of other hotels and B&Bs within 30 minutes drive north and south of Glencoe.

Nevis Range

The Nevis Range is situated fairly close to Glencoe and is only a couple of hours north of Glasgow. It's slightly larger than Glencoe with around 20km of marked ski runs but there's also some great off piste too. When the snow is good, the local ski patrol will open the Back Corries which provide access to a range of freeride options, with the bowls offering up to 500m of vertical and pitches as steep at 55 degrees. Like Glencoe, the surrounding scenery is amazing, with Ben Nevis looming overhead and distant views towards Cairngorm.

The infrastructure at Nevis Range is some of the most modern in Scotland. From the base building a gondola takes you up to the foot of the ski slopes, from where two speedy chairlifts whizz you higher and provide access to some nice open runs, suitable for most abilities.

Fort William is the closest town and has a variety of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife on offer. It is also on the west coast train line to Glasgow and it's only 15 minutes by regular bus to the ski centre which means you could make it a car free UK ski trip.

Skiing the Nevis Range

 

Cairngorm Mountain

Cairngorm is perhaps the best known resort in Scotland, and lies amongst some of Scotland’s highest (and coldest) mountains. Although it's the most developed resort it isn't as big as Glenshee, but does feature a funicular railway among it's 11 lifts, though this is unlikely to be open for the 2018/19 season due to structural issues. The skiing is situated on the upper mountain mainly, which is normally accessed by the tram system (funicular) which runs from the car park. It's northerly facing aspect means it has the best of the snow in the area, though this can cause the access road and funicular to become blocked.

For the 2018/19 season the resort has invested in a Snow Factory system that can produce artificial snow in all weather conditions. This season we wouldn't currently recommend Cairngorm for beginners as the Ski School will not be operating until the issues with the funicular are fixed.

For non-skiers the trip up the funicular is worth while (when it is open), as you can enjoy a coffee or spot of lunch at Scotland’s highest restaurant which offers some incredible panoramic views.

Below the ski centre there are also the UK's only groomed cross country ski trails (snow cover permitting) at Glenmore lodge. The town of Aviemore with plenty of hotels, places to eat and drink and leisure facilities, is around 25 minutes west by car or bus and has rail links to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Inverness and a sleeper service to London Euston.

The Lecht

The Lecht, which sits within the Cairngorm range, promotes itself as Scotland's fun family ski area. The resort has 12 lifts including a three person chairlift, which are all affectionately named after wildlife that can be found in the area. Despite not having the most challenging or varied skiing in Scotland, The Lecht is a good ski area generally suited to beginners or early intermediates. There are also activities for non-skiers too, such as tubing and devil-karting. Be wary as the A939 is infamous for becoming blocked in the winter months. This season the Lecht has also invested in a Snow Factory guaranteeing snow cover whatever the weather.

Aberdeen is the closest city, around 1 hour 30 mins drive, but you can find hotels and B&Bs in Ballater and Tomintoul nearby.

For more information on the Scottish resorts visit our Resort Guides or ski.visitscotland.com

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