7 Reasons To Ski or Snowboard in Scotland

Skiing in Scotland

Skiing in Scotland is an immersion experience, taking in the scenery, the weather and the culture as well as skiing at any of the five outdoor ski resorts - or joining the ever-increasing number of backcountry ski and splitboard tourers

Not sure whether to ski or snowboard in Scotland? Check out these 7 reasons and watch Billy Morgan's documentary about splitboarding for the first time in the Scottish Highlands. His smile says it all...

1) Weather and Whisky

There are two seasons in Scotland. June and winter. This well-loved quote from Billy Connolly is a good reason to visit Scotland to ski or snowboard. Known for its many months of wild winter weather dropping snow over the highlands, cold weather is almost guaranteed and, when the powder is good, many have professed that there is nowhere better to ski.

Another reason, of course, is a nip of locally distilled whisky on the chairlift for a winter warmer.

"This is Scotland, and the weather is as much part of the experience as the Highland views, the local humour, the cosy pubs and the whisky stops," wrote Stuart Kenny for The Guardian about his skiing experience in Scotland.

Skiing in Scotland is an immersion experience, taking in the scenery, the weather and the culture as well as skiing at any of the five outdoor ski resorts.

2) Getting Away From it All

If you want to get away from it all, the commercial resorts of Europe, then you're in the right place. In Scotland you can ski or snowboard for less than €40 for a day's lift pass - and without having to dodge the coach loads of school kids bussed in from all over Europe.

Or join the ever-increasing number of ski tourers adventuring into the backcountry of the Highlands.

Need convincing? Just watch British snowboard Olympic medal winner, Billy Morgan who went splitboarding in the Scottish Highlands for the first time. In the documentary, Taxi for Billy (below), he snakes down a white wall of powder and winds between the walls of a couloir, exclaiming at the end, "Holy Shred, that was sick". Accessing the snowline via e-bike and hiking out over the bracken, were all part of the adventure of his three day road trip to Scotland, travelling to the Highlands and sleeping in a black cab.

NB. Other accommodation is available, see No 5.

3) Indoors and Outdoors Skiing

Scotland is home to five outdoor ski resorts and an indoor snow centre in Glasgow, which offers skiing opportunities on real snow all year round. In addition, Scotland has 10 artificial slopes including the longest in Europe. There are five outdoor ski resorts in Scotland: CairnGorm Mountain, Glencoe Mountain, Glenshee, Nevis Range and Lecht. Three of these are found in the Cairngorms National Park.

These Scottish ski resorts have all the amenities including ski and snowboard lessons, marked pistes and lifts, off-piste itineraries, terrain parks, crosscountry tracks and mini-shred areas. You can also enjoy other winter sports, like sledging and ski mountaineering.

4) Spectacular Winter Landscapes

Skiing Scotland

From the stunning snow-capped mountains of the Highlands to the bustling Christmas markets of Edinburgh, winter in Scotland is picture postcard scenic. Just ask extreme sports photographer, Hamish Frost, whose spectacular images (above and main image) that feature in our Freezing Frame article, reflect his love for the Scottish highlands and won him a place in the Red Bull Illume finals.  

Ski touring will take you to off-radar slopes with breathtaking views. Just hope that the famous Scottish mist doesn't obscure the view.

And, note, with highest summits around 1,300m there’s no need for altitude acclimatisation

5) Home From Homes

When it comes to accommodation, Scotland will not disappoint. In fact, you will find some amazing homes in Scotland to rent for skiing adventures, from luxury self-catering cottages in Scotland, with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside to lavish estates perfect for big groups. 

In Scotland enjoy the comforts of a traditional home unlike some of the crammed in box-sized apartments of Alpine ski resorts.

6) Ski with Wildlife

Scotland is home to prolific wildlife, especially the Cairngorms National Park. The Cairngorms are internationally renowned for birdwatching, famous for osprey and, soaring high above the mountains, white-tailed and golden eagles.

There are numerous other wildlife species such as red deer, roe deer, mountain hare, badgers, red squirrels, wildcats, and otters. So have your camera ready.

7) See the Northern Lights

If you want apres ski entertainment then how about the Northern Lights? Thanks to proximity to the Arctic Circle, long nights and lack of pollution, there's a good chance of a theatrical display of the Aurora Borealis following a day's skiing or snowboarding. 

Check first with AuroraWatch UK for potential sightings, take a dram of whisky if you're out in the chill night - and remember to look north.

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