23 November 2022
As a very popular pastime in the UK, skiing is practised up and down the country using both indoor and outdoor slopes. Unlike the indoor slopes, the outdoor ones are far more dependent on the vagaries of the local weather to ensure that their runs have the snow cover that is needed.
Scotland is the place to go if you are looking for natural snow for outdoor skiing, nowhere else in the UK can really match the mountainous regions of Scotland for the snowfall and density required. We look at some of the outdoor ski slopes and give our thoughts on the best.
Offering up to 40km of ski runs, Glenshee is the largest of the natural ski resorts in Scotland and offers both on-piste and off-piste skiing on a mountain that is 3,504ft high. A truly impressive experience, with soft powdery snow for much of the year, Glenshee rivals many of the top European resorts in terms of the sheer quality of the skiing experience on offer. The ski season usually runs from December to April as after that the weather becomes too warm for sufficient snow to lie.
This ski resort has operated since the 1970s and offers 20 maintained ski runs and 14 lifts, as well as a year-round activity centre. This ski centre inhabits an incredibly scenic area, in the Eastern Cairngorm range of mountains, in Scotland’s largest National Park. Lecht Ski Centre has on-site snow making facilities, which make for excellent skiing conditions for most of the year. The facilities are best for beginner to intermediate skiers and equipment hire can be booked online or at the venue.
Located at Aviemore, one of Scotland’s top ski resorts, the Cairngorm Ski Area is an ideal place to take the family skiing. The town of Aviemore offers many attractions and excellent accommodation options and there is a wide range of activities for all of the family, including tubing and skiing lessons for those who are less experienced. There is even a dedicated “snow park” for kids.
Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Glencoe mountain resort overlooks scenic sites including Rannoch Moor and Buachaille Etive Mor. There are microlodges and electrical hookups for camper vans on site but pre-booking is highly recommended for this popular ski destination. There are 8 lifts and 20 runs on-site, with varying levels of difficulty. As well as having a reputation for being beginner friendly, this venue is the site of the steepest “black run” in the UK, which is strictly for the most experienced of skiers.
Set high on the mountainside of Aonach Mor, and accessed by the UK’s only mountain gondola, this is one spectacular trip for all of the family. The beginners section is located close to the restaurant at the top station and has a variety of easy green and blue runs available. There are also more difficult off-piste runs for the more experienced and adventurous as well as sledging and snowshoeing activities.