Top five places for a ski staycation in Scotland this winter
If you’re looking to hit the slopes this year but are nevertheless unsure about travelling oversea, because of the recent surge of Covid situations and mainland Europe lockdowns, or fancy a more sustainable trip, Scotland’s mountains offer plenty of winter fun for a winter ski staycation.
In general, the Scottish ski season runs between December and early April, although the best snowfall is usually found between January and March. Scotland’s ski centres offer everything you need for fun-filled days of adventure. From varying slopes to suit different levels of skier, practice areas, and lessons, to equipment rentals, ski lifts, and nearby après ski fun, Scotland promises to be a terrific winter-sports destination.
Scotland’s ski areas are surrounded by the dramatically scenery of the Highlands, with fascinating wildlife, world-class distilleries, cultural hotspots, and historic highlights at your fingertips.
To help you decide where to go, PaulCamper have put together the five best places for a ski holiday in Scotland in addition as the best campsite nearby for those looking to take the trip in their campervan.
1. Cairngorm Mountain Resort
Nestled in the large and beautiful Cairngorms National Park, the towering Cairngorm Mountain (after which the national park was named) is home to Scotland’s highest ski resort at an elevation of almost 1,100 metres. The mountain itself is the sixth highest in Great Britain.
One of the most popular Scottish ski centres, Cairngorm Mountain Resort boasts 32 runs for skiers of different abilities, running from green to black, and has 11 lifts.
Cairngorm Mountain Resort (also known as Aviemore Resort) typically has the most reliable snow conditions of Scotland’s ski centres. Although the north-facing mountain typically gets a decent amount of snow each winter, snow cannons are also used to try and ensure good snow cover at the start and end of the ski season.
The mountain is divided into two parts; at the top, the Ptarmigan Bowl is ideal for beginners. The right side of the mountain is great for intermediate skiers, while the steeper White Lady is terrific for those with more experience.
The nearest main town is Aviemore which was found to be the 5th most stress-free staycation location in a recent study. It’s home to plenty of eateries, and nearby attractions include the Highland Wildlife Park, the open-air Highland Folk Museum, Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, and several glistening lakes (or lochs).
Campsite near Cairngorm Mountain Resort
The Loch Ness Shores – Camping and Caravanning Club Site is only an hour away from Cairngorm and is open all year long. The Campsite offers electrical hook up, facilities, Wi-fi, a shop to provide you with all the necessities that you need- and pets are allowed in addition!
2. Glenshee Ski Centre
Spread across three gorgeous valleys, Glenshee Ski Centre is the biggest ski resort in Scotland. The resort is at an elevation of 1,070 metres and has 22 lifts. The resort sits on both sides of a major road: the A93. To the east, Glas Maol boasts steep slopes and offers top-class adventures for experienced skiers. To the west, there are several well-groomed slopes in addition as the famous Tiger Slope.
Throughout the resort, runs vary from easy to difficult. The most challenging skiing can generally be found at both ends of the resort. You’ll find a nursery slope close to the main car park and the resort has its own ski and snowboard school. The resort offers plenty of snow activities for families and equipment hire is obtainable.
Snow is fairly reliable over the winter, and the resort uses snow-making machinery to enhance skiing opportunities. Located towards the south of the great Cairngorms National Park, the nearest major town is Braemar. Incidentally, Braemar (in the Grampian Mountains) recorded the coldest ever temperatures in Great Britain, so if you are camping around here make sure you have looked into heating options for your campervan ahead of your visit.
Local attractions include Braemar Castle, Balmoral Castle (royal residence and favourite summer home of The Queen), Loch Callater, and the Braemar Highland Games Centre. Of course, there’s lots of glorious character to discover too.
Campsite near Glenshee
Just under an hour away from Glenshee you can find the Scone – Camping and Caravanning Club Site. The campsite is open by December, closes on 5th January and re-opens on 1st March. The site includes an electric hook-up and offers a Motorhome service point.
3. Lecht Ski Centre
Lecht Ski Centre (also known as Lecht 2090, because it’s 2,090 feet above sea level) is a fairly small and reasonably quiet Scottish ski resort. Although it has the fewest runs of Scotland’s ski areas, it’s particularly popular with families and beginners.
There are 13 lifts and the pass prices are reasonable. Tickets are obtainable for all periods from a day by to the complete season. The resort has drag lifts too, in addition as a ski school and equipment rentals.
Runs range between green and black, with the majority being blue or red. There’s only one black route, which runs all the way down the mountain. Inject a little competition and challenge your mates at the timed slalom course. Snowboarding fans and freestyle skiers can cut loose in the snow park, while the magic carpets are perfect for little ones. Despite being at a comparatively low altitude, the resort has snow-making equipment to ensure good skiing conditions.
Located within the Cairngorms National Park and in Aberdeenshire, the nearest major town is Tomintoul. Away from the slopes you can visit the many different attractions of the national park, enjoy Aberdeenshire’s numerous magical castles, or already pop into the granite city of Aberdeen for a day of sightseeing.
Campsites near Lecht Ski Centre
Both Loch Ness Shores and Scone – Camping and Caravanning Club Sites are within 2 hours’ excursion of The Lecht Ski Centre.
4. Nevis Range Mountain Resort
The Nevis Range Mountain Resort offers splendid Highland vistas, which include Scotland’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the sparkling lake of Loch Eil. The resort is famous for its dramatically ground and it’s the only Scottish ski resort with a mountain gondola. There are also 12 lifts throughout the resort.
The extensive beginners’ area is ideal for children and those new to the sport, and lessons are also obtainable. No worries if snow is thin on the ground, as you can get your practice in on the artificial slopes if need be.
There are runs for intermediate and experienced skiers, ranging from green to black. For a real excitement, head to the back of the mountain, where you’ll find steep, ungroomed runs for a huge adrenaline rush.
The nearest major town is Fort William. Inverlochy Castle, Ben Nevis Distillery, the West Highland Museum, and the charming St. Andrew’s Church are just a few local attractions to enjoy away from the slopes.
Plus, it’s not too long of a excursion to the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, AKA the Harry Potter Railway Bridge. You can already board the Jacobite steam aim (now also known as the Hogwarts Express) for a pictureque rail trip.
Campsite near Nevis Range Mountain Resort
Loch Ness Shores – Camping and Caravanning Club Site is just over an hour away. Being open all year long makes it the perfect starting point for your snow adventure.
5. Glencoe Mountain Resort
Boasting Scotland’s longest and steepest runs, Glencoe Mountain Resort provides plenty of thrills along its 20 runs. It has a further claim to fame, as it was the country’s first commercial ski resort. The area generally sees a good amount of snow over the winter; there are also snow-making machines on the easier slopes.
Surrounded by gorgeous Highland scenery, the resort has 8 lifts and varying levels of runs from green to black. Passes are obtainable for anything from half a day up to the complete season. If you’re nevertheless learning how to ski, Glencoe Mountain Resort has a good training area and a ski/snowboard school.
in addition as the pistes, the area around Meall a’Bhuiridh Mountain and the White Corries is home to terrific backcountry ground. Alternatively, how about mixing up your Scotland ski trip with some additional mountaineering lessons? If you’re looking for local attractions to enjoy when not hitting the slopes, Skyfall Waterfall and the Meeting of Three Waters are both well worth a visit.
Campsite near Glencoe Mountain Resort
The Loch Ness Shores – Camping and Caravanning Club Site is only 2 hours away from the Glencoe Mountain Resort. If you’re planning on staying here, you have a great starting point to analyze more than just one ski resort during your winter holiday.
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