The far north of Scotland is spectacular at any time of year. Tina Irving describes how the wild landscape transforms into a winter wonderland.
When you think of skiing venues, your mind probably conjures up images of France, Italy, Switzerland or Canada. But a little closer to home, the Cairngorms National Park is actually home to some fantastic ski spots.
Thanks to the abundance of snow across the mountains, winter sports have always been popular in the Cairngorms - three of Scotland’s five ski centres are located within the park. In fact, we think the park offers the best skiing and snowboarding facilities in the UK.
Here’s our guide to the best places to ski in the Cairngorms National Park...
Located close to Aviemore, Cairn Gorm Mountain is the most well-known ski and snowboard area in the Cairngorms National Park. Having been offering snow sports for over fifty years, the centre has 30km of ski runs, 11 lifts, a well-maintained free-style park and an on-site Snow School.
The highest of the Cairngorm National Park’s ski centres, Cairn Gorm Mountain is particularly popular thanks to its reputation for holding the snow well throughout the season.
Cairn Gorm Mountain offers a wide variety of slopes and terrain parks, making it the perfect destination for skiers of all abilities and ages. If you’re lucky, you might even catch some of Britain’s best snowboarders and skiers on the kickers and rails!
With something for everyone, The Lecht is the perfect destination for families and beginners. As well as an excellent selection of nursery slopes, there’s also a magic carpet to help total beginners build their confidence as they get started. The on-site ski school will help you develop your skills from beginner to pro in no time at all.
For skiers who are feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s also a great park equipped with a range of jumps and rails. The Lecht also hosts an impressive day lodge complete with a café, bar, ticket office, shop, ski hire and toilets.
To reach the Lecht, follow the A939 between Tomintoul and Strathdon.
The largest ski and snowboarding area in Scotland, Glenshee offers something for everyone. As well as natural and man-made terrain awash with gullies, bowls, jumps and hits, Glenshee is also home to the infamous Tiger – one of the most challenging black runs in the Cairngorms National Park.
This ski centre offers fantastic views for miles around, allowing you to take in the scenery as you ski.
Weather permitting, all three ski centres at Glenshee are open from December to May each year, catering for all levels of skill and discipline. If you’re new to skiing or don’t own your own equipment, you can hire everything you need from the centres, including outer clothing.
The Cairngorms National Park is also a great place to enjoy some cross-country skiing. There are two centres at Slochd and Glenmore where you’ll find miles and miles of ski trails and forest tracks to explore away from the crowds. However, if you are planning to go off-piste make sure that you check the weather forecast and the avalanche report before you go to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.