Monday, 12 November 2012

Ski Scotland

By Tom Pearson

Skiing off Aonach Mor (Nevis Range)
© Copyright Iain McLean
When considering where they will ski this coming season, most people won't even consider Scotland as an option. They associate skiing with the Alps and completely ignore the fact that there can be great skiing on offer here in Britain.

I accept that the skiing conditions in Scotland aren't as reliable as the Alps. This is purely due to the altitude of the resorts. If the conditions are right however, which is a lot more often than you would think, then Scotland is actually a really good option. The resorts are all within two and a half hours from all the major Scottish towns and airports. They also all have reasonable sized towns nearby to find accommodation, food and drink.

Beginner pistes at the top of the Cairngorm Mountain ski centre
© Copyright Callum Black
The skiing in Scotland can be divided into five main centres: Nevis Range and Glen Coe in the West and Cairngorm, Glen Shee and The Lecht in the East. Each of these centres has something unique to offer. For me, Nevis range takes a lot of beating. When there has been a decent amount of snow and the back corries are free of unstable snow the back corries are opened up for skiing. The skiing out the back of these corries is probably the best and most accessible you will come across in Scotland. Another benefit of Nevis range is that you can get in the cable car from the car park. This means that you don't have to drive at any altitude, which if the snow is good enough to ski on, might be a challenge.

If you are a little more adventurous and have a decent amount of mountaineering experience, then ski mountaineering might present a better option. The Scottish hills are perfect for this type of skiing because of their height and gradient. If there is enough snow then you can often ski straight from the car. Probably the best thing about this kind of skiing is the fact that you are unlikely to see anyone all day. With this type of mountaineering you must be fully aware of the challenges that the Scottish mountains present, and feel able and adequately prepared to deal with them.

The skiing in Scotland will never be as reliable as the Alps. When it is good however, it is really good and well worth your consideration.

About the author
Tom Pearson is a very experienced climber and a fully qualified climbing instructor. He lives, works and climbs mostly in the UK. Tom Writes regularly for on topics which, if you are interested in any aspect of mountaineering, you will find very interesting.

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