Skiing in Scotland
Skiing holidays are seen as the ultimate in luxury winter holidays but it is not necessary to fly off to the Alps when there are also skiing facilities in Scotland that offer everything that you need. The slopes are a bit smaller and the facilities not as luxurious but you can certainly spend a good amount of time indulging in winter sports if you visit at the right time.
Be prepared to check out the skiing conditions for each of the resorts and go at a moment’s notice. Just because there is snow there it does not mean that the conditions are right for skiing and it is very changeable.
Those who want to try out the skiing facilities in Scotland can choose from one of several areas. The Cairngorms, Nevis Range, Glencoe and Glenshee tend to fill up with ski enthusiasts each weekend and during school holidays when the conditions are right. The resort of Aviemore is a favourite and is very close to the Cairngorm area. In recent years it has developed a great deal to include both indoor and outdoor sporting activities. If you are taking a holiday in the area and cannot get on the slopes then you could try clay pigeon shooting, dog-sledding, gorge walking or a spa treatment. With a dry ski slope the resort has become a great place for a break no matter what time of the year that you go.
Aviemore is also developing a good reputation for après-ski. There are plenty of pubs and nightclubs where you can enjoy entertainments such as live music, poker nights and Scottish-themed evenings. Staying in Aviemore also puts you in a great place for visiting some of the other ski areas. Nevis Range is the newest addition to Scotland’s skiing options and it is just a few minutes away. Glencoe can be reached within 20 minutes.
The Cairngorms National Park is described as an Arctic mountain landscape. The fact that it is open to the elements means that when the weather changes so do the skiing conditions. The lifts become dangerous to use in bad weather so the slopes are closed. However, this area tends to get the most snow and therefore has the longest potential skiing season of them all. It is possible to be skiing here right up until April each year and the site also has a snowboard terrain park.
Nevis Range is situated in an area which tends towards milder conditions which means that the thaw happens more quickly. In addition to the ski slopes, enthusiasts can also try out the snowboard terrain park at Nevis Range which is becoming increasingly popular with younger visitors.
Glencoe has some of the longest runs available, provided there is enough snow but it is also prone to changeable weather. This area is not one to visit for those who are interested in après-ski as there is not much in the way of amenities apart from the actual winter sports so when the weather is not right you will need to look a little further afield.
Glenshee consists of mainly short runs but these are for intermediate skiers rather than beginners. The good news is that there are plenty of slopes so when the conditions are right this resort can accommodate a large number of skiers. This resort tends to be open when poor conditions have closed the others. It is close to the town of Blairgowrie where most of the skiers choose to stay while others opt for Braemar to the north.
The good news is that no matter what your level of expertise at skiing is, there is a resort that is suitable for you. All have ski schools and instructors on hand as well as facilities for hiring equipment. If you travel up for weekend or school holiday skiing then you may find that the hire facilities are under siege! The resorts in Scotland are ideal for those who want to get in some skiing practice before hitting larger slopes in the Alps or the Pyrenees or those who only have a few days to spare for a break.
The cost of a lift pass and equipment hire is not very much cheaper than you could expect to pay in the Alps, but it is all the extras that will save money. Food and drink is much more reasonably priced and budget accommodation is available in the surrounding areas so a winter break here will not put too much of a strain on the bank balance.