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Scottish ski resorts

Skiing in Scotland

Scotland has the best skiing and snowboarding in the UK. There are several ski resorts in Scotland, but the experience will be very different compared to the average ski holiday in Europe. Scotland can get excellent snow conditions, and on a good day you will think it’s the best place on the planet, but snowfall is very unreliable in Scotland. Ideally, it would be best if you were flexible to travel last minute when the snow does fall.

Most ski resorts in Scotland have fantastic facilities – equipment hire, ski and snowboard lessons, a snow park, restaurants, avalanche training and other winter activities like Nordic skiing, telemark skiing, sledging and tubing. Skiing in Scotland is perfect for novice skiers and snowboarders finding their feet in snowsports. The quality of instructors in Scotland and facilities for children is excellent.

Most popular ski resorts in Scotland

In Scotland, you can choose from the five main ski resorts across the country. Each is different in its own way, which we will explain. The ski areas are spread across the Highlands – from Glenshee and The Lecht in the east to Cairngorm above Aviemore and Glencoe and Nevis Range on the west coast. Some of the resorts are reachable by public transport, but the easiest way to travel around Scotland is by car. With a car, you can also try out several resorts on your trip and see all the spectacular sights that Scotland has to offer. Brave skiers could combine all 5 in one epic road trip! You’ll be blown away by the beautiful Highland and Aberdeenshire scenery.

Most of the ski areas are on vast, open hillsides with no tree cover making them susceptible to windy conditions. The quality of the snow can be mixed through the season – Scotland can get light, fluffy snow from an Arctic blast or wet heavier snow coming in from the Atlantic. Little snowfall can impact the number of runs that can be opened and heavy snow can close the mountain until the snow has been cleared from roads and ski lifts. The limited facilities and workforce in Scottish ski resorts mean that the unpredictability of the snow can heavily affect operations. Skiing in Scotland is wild, exciting and unpredictable – very different to anything you’ll find in the Alps.


40km of pistes & 21 lifts

Glenshee is the largest ski resort in the UK with 40km of pistes. It is located in Aberdeenshire in the Southern Highlands. The ski area is spread across four peaks covering 790 hectares, including a 2km long run called Glas Maol, which is considered to be one of the best ski runs in Scotland.

At the Glenshee Ski Centre, there is a ski school, ski hire shop, several cafes and a car park for 2000 cars. The best way to get here is by car as there is no public transport to the ski resort. There is no accommodation on-site, but you could stay nearby in the village of Braemar and explore more of the Cairngorms National Park.


30km of pistes & 11 ski lifts

Cairngorm is the second largest ski resort in Scotland after Glenshee. Located in the Scottish Highlands above Aviemore, the ski resort has the highest slope in Scotland at 1230m and a fully maintained freestyle park. The resort has a great mix of runs for all abilities - there are even three black runs for expert skiers and snowboarders!

Several ski schools operate at Cairngorm, plus there is a ski hire shop and a restaurant. Weekends can get busy, so make sure that you arrive early to guarantee a car parking space and be prepared for queues on the mountain. If you are travelling by public transport, the closest train station is Aviemore, just 9 miles away. From the train station, you can get a taxi or hop on the bus from Aviemore to Cairngorm Mountain.

The Lecht (The Lecht 2090)

18km of pistes & 14 lifts

The Lecht is in the Eastern Cairngorms, in the heart of Scotland’s largest National Park. This may be the smallest of the five ski resorts in Scotland, but there is still lots to do here! The runs are shorter, so the ski area is better suited to beginners and families. Kids will love the Penguin Park, a beginner area for children aged 2-8 finding their ‘snow’ feet. There are good snowmaking facilities at The Lecht to ensure reliable snow conditions, even in a dry winter.

There is a day lodge with everything that you will need under one roof including a ski hire shop, clothing hire, ski school office, toilets, ticket office, café and a self-service restaurant. It is best to drive here as there is no public transport to the resort.


24km of pistes & 8 ski lifts

Glencoe is the oldest ski resort in Scotland. The first permanent ski lift opened in the winter of 1956, creating the first commercial ski resort in Scotland. Now, Glencoe has eight ski lifts serving the 20 pistes, including the steepest black run in the UK, named Flypaper.

Snowfall is higher on the west coast compared to other ski resorts in Scotland, so Glencoe usually gets better on-piste conditions. Visitors can stay in one of the micro-lodges in the resort, and there are camping facilities available. The best way to get to the resort is by car or by taking a train to Glencoe and then getting the bus to the ski resort.

Nevis Range

35km of pistes & 12 lifts

The Nevis Range is located near Fort Wiliam, in the west of Scotland. The ski resort is easy to get to – if you are travelling by public transport, then you can get the train to Fort William and then hop on a bus to the ski resort. If you are travelling by car, there is a large car park at the bottom of the mountain. The UK’s only mountain gondola connects the car park to the ski area.

There is an excellent mix of ski runs, from beginner and intermediate terrain in the lower ski areas to runs off the top of the mountain for advanced riders and then backcountry tracks in the Back Corries. Expert skiers will enjoy the gullies, bowls and cornice drops in this separate area. Skiing on the Nevis Range is well known for its incredible views over Ben Nevis.

Scotland ski resorts FAQ:

Scottish skiing is toward the North of the country, though not as far as Inverness. All 5 of the major ski resorts in Scotland can be reached in 1-2 hours drive from Inverness airport.

There are! Scotland has 5 main resorts:

  • Glencoe
  • Glenshee
  • Nevis Range
  • The Lecht
  • Cairngorm

Cairngorm Mountain ski resort is the most popular. There are snowsure bowls up high that gives it some of the most reliable snow in Scotland. Cairngorm has the highest resort peak in Scotland at 1230m.

The Nevis Range is the place to head if you’re looking to go off-piste and see the wonderful views of the Eponymous mountain. Families, beginners and intermediates will want to try Glenshee -it’s the biggest area and great for cruising.

You won’t be getting the 3 Valleys - Glenshee is the largest area with about 40km of pisted runs. There’s more than enough to get a ski fix for a day or 2 if you can’t get overseas.

Yes, and good quality too! Scotland’s ski season mirrors it’s European and Scandinavian counterparts, running from late December through late March (sometimes into April). It is, unfortunately, very variable and reliant on the weather. However, investment in snowmaking facilities aims to change that in the future.

Yes, and good quality too! Scotland’s ski season mirrors it’s European and Scandinavian counterparts, running from late December through late March (sometimes into April). It is, unfortunately, very variable and reliant on the weather. However, investment in snowmaking facilities aims to change that in the future.

Cairngorm tops the list with its snow-sure bowls and the highest slope (1230m).

The Lecht, being the lowest elevation, is the least reliable, despite the all-weather Snow Factor snowmaking facility. The resort has announced a further £400,000 of investment into snowmaking in October 2020.

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