The weather and the snow conditions at Scotland's five resorts have never compared favourably with the continent. A spate of mild Winters has even threatened to bankrupt the industry while periods of heavy snowfalls can be accompanied by high speed winds and poor visibility.
Every regular Scottish skier will have their own horror stories - the rocks, the slush, the ice, the wind - but also will have at least one story of a heavenly day's skiing under blue skies, with barely a soul on the slopes. A major advantage is that all the resorts are within easy reach of the capital.
Tips for skiing and snowboarding in Scotland
1. With weather being unpredictable check the resort's web site (see below) for snow conditions.
2. Unless there is piles of snow - or you don't value your own skis or board - hire equipment. It might get wrecked by rocks.
3. Take your own food. If you don't plan a trip back into town you might find food on the piste expensive and limited.
Hill End dry ski slope in the Pentland Hills (South Edinburgh) used to the biggest dry run in Europe. The brush slope is a good place to practice or learn. Although it doesn't compare with the real thing it is one way of practicing your technique. Buses run to the slope on the edge of town.
- Glenshee Being within easy striking distance from Edinburgh (couple of hours drive) and with 40km of downhill this is the best for that spontaneous ski trip. The resort is isolated - at the top of a desolate glen - with skiing on both sides of the road. Sunny Side is a good warmer-upper and the Tiger is great for moguls or dicing on ice.
- Cairngorm With 40km of runs this is extensive by Scottish standards - at least that's when the runs are open. Often suffers from either too much or too little snow. Nearby Aviemore offers a variety of apres-ski activities or apres boarding (this resort is popular with the single-plankers).
- Nevis Range (Fort William) The newest and most continental of the resorts (complete with gondola) but further to go than the two above resorts for Edinburghers. Main slope can get a little exposed to the winds, but on a good day has great views. Facilities of Fort William are very close.
- Glencoe Mountain The first chairlift opened here in 1961. There are just seven lifts at this resort, but its no-frills approach and better-than-average snow make it a favourite with some. Varied terrain appeals to boarders looking for something different. It also boasts the steepest marked run in Scotland, the Fly Paper. Well worth an afternoon or a day trip
- The Lecht The most limited in terms of ski area but the gentler pistes offer a good place for learners who want to begin on the white stuff.
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