If you’re considering skiing at one of Scotland’s popular snowsports destinations this winter season, our essential guide to the skiing and snowboarding facilities at all of the five Scottish resorts will help you to make your decision.
As well as information on the ski schools, facilities and hire and sales centres local to each of the resorts, we’ve also covered information on where to stay, where to eat and drink and much more. Don’t make a Ski Scotland booking without reading this first!
All about skiing in Scotland
Scotland plays host to five skiing and snowboarding resorts during the winter season, which usually runs from December to March or April, snow permitting.
CairnGorm Mountain, the Glenshee Ski Centre and Lecht 2090 are all located relatively close to each other in the Cairngorms National Park, with the Nevis Range and Glencoe Mountain near Fort William being an hour apart and just a couple of hour’s drive away from the other three Ski Scotland resorts. While driving conditions during the winter months can be inhospitable, all five resorts are nevertheless well within striking distance of each other, and there is a fair amount of crossover in visitors between the five resorts. It’s entirely feasible to arrange a trip to take in two or more of the resorts over the course of a couple of weeks.
The CairnGorm Mountain Resort boasts three ski schools and a variety of different equipment hire centres, as well as being within striking distance of Aviemore’s Grampian Road, which plays host to a range of ski equipment shops. Several popular bars, hotels and restaurants in the local Aviemore area are shared with visitors to all three of the Cairngorms National Park resorts, and the resort is equally popular with couples, groups and families.
Situated 2,090 feet above sea level, Lecht 2090 has just one ski school on the range, catering for a wide range of ages, abilities and specialist disciplines. Lecht 2090 is one of Scotland’s smaller ski resorts, but nonetheless has nineteen runs as well as facilities for snow tubing, alpine and freeriding.
Glencoe Mountain offers accommodation right at the heart of the resort, as well as a bar and restaurant open in the evenings after the runs have closed for the day. If you don’t fancy the on-site facilities, you’ll need to make a trip into Fort William where a range of well reviewed restaurants, pubs and late bars await.
The Nevis Range is around seven miles from Fort William, with good transport links and a rich variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets within the town itself. The Nevis Range offers an impressive selection of equipment for hire, and can cater for a wide range of ages, sizes and disciplines.
Best resorts for snowboarders
If you’re seeking to improve your boarding skills or test your abilities over a variety of obstacles, we recommend either the CairnGorm Mountain Resort, where the Aviemore and Glenmore Snowsports School offers specialist tuition in tricks and skills, or Lecht 2090 with its special snowboarding obstacle run to really push your abilities to the limit.
The best resort for novice skiers
Any of Scotland’s five ski resorts can offer tuition for complete novices and beginners of all ages on appropriately gentle slopes and groomed terrain. Lecht 2090 is a particularly good pick for nervous or novice skiers, with their unique ‘magic carpet’ travellator to get beginners up on their skis right from the very beginning.
Best resorts for specialist skiing disciplines
All of Scotland’s five resorts contain a variety of runs, going from gentle beginners’ slopes up to black runs and specialist courses.
The CairnGorm Mountain Resort runs specialist clinics throughout the winter season in cross country skiing and freestyle, while at the Glenshee Ski Centre, telemark and winter mountaineering instruction is available. The Glencoe Mountain Resort offers race training and telemark instruction, as well as playing host to the steepest black run in the UK. Lecht 2090 boasts a coin operated speedway ski run to test out your time down the slope. On the Nevis Range, instruction is available in a range of disciplines including blading, telemark and snow shoeing.
Best resorts for the family
Lecht 2090 offers ski tubing over a special gently groomed slope, to introduce even the smallest of children to the world of snowsports safely and enjoyably. Nevis Range also offers special lessons for children under seven in skiing and children under nine in snowboarding on gentle nursery slopes, as well as a range of lessons and workshops for older children and adults in all disciplines.
Best resorts for disabled skiers
Nevis Range offers specialist instruction in adaptive skiing for disabled skiers, and also hires adaptive ski equipment.
The CairnGorm Mountain Resort works closely with Disability Snowsport UK to provide instruction and equipment for disabled people with fully qualified adaptive ski instructors.
The best resort for on-site facilities
The Glencoe Mountain Resort provides on-site accommodation in compact micro-lodges, as well as offering caravan and motor home hook up points. A facilities log cabin houses a bar and cafe- restaurant, as well as showers, drying facilities and equipment hire on site.
Best resorts for those on a tight budget
The areas surrounding both the Nevis Range and the Glenshee Ski Centre have a variety of options available for hostel accommodation and reasonably priced individual rooms. The Nevis Range is also the best served resort for public transport links and getting to and from the main town of Fort William and the resort itself without a car.
Best resorts for socialising
Grampian Road in Aviemore is a skiers and snowboarder’s Mecca, with a variety of ski equipment shops, bars, restaurants and accommodation serving visitors to the nearby resorts of Glenshee Ski CentreCairnGorm Mountain and Lecht 2090. Popular with visitors to all of these three resorts, you won’t travel far along Grampian Road without bumping into another skier or snowboarder during the winter season!
Glencoe Mountain, having its own on-site accommodation facilities, bar and restaurant, is a good pick if you want to meet likeminded snowsports enthusiasts and other visitors without straying from the resort itself.
Scotland is a popular destination for skiing during the winter months for visitors from both the UK and across the world. Understandably, all of the Scottish resorts can become extremely busy at peak times, and arranging your trip at the last minute might leave you with a limited range of options for accommodation, equipment hire and lessons. Try to plan your trip well in advance, and book early to avoid the rush!