5 Best Places to Ski or Snowboard in Scotland

November 30, 2023 in Destinations and Scotland

Forget the Alps or Pyrenees, you don’t need to even leave the UK for great skiing and snowboarding! There are excellent ski resorts right here in Scotland, which offer both beginner and advanced routes, and can provide a wonderful winter sports holiday. 

Choosing to go skiing in Scotland is ideal for shorter holidays, and will be far more budget-friendly. Not only will you not need to book any flights, but the prices of the regions tend to be far cheaper than their counterparts in Switzerland, France or Austria. 

Additionally, choosing to stay in the UK for skiing will allow you to be more flexible, and adapt to wherever the best snowfall can be found. So let’s take a look at everything you need to know for your winter adventure, including the best places to ski or snowboard in Scotland. 
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When can you go skiing in Scotland?

Every country’s ski season differs, so you might be wondering when winter even starts in Scotland. This is wise to check, as it would be a shame to be disappointed upon arrival. 

Scotland’s northern location results in an earlier winter than other areas, this is also why it’s home to many of the best ski locations in the UK.

So when does winter really start in Scotland? From November to February, Scotland experiences very cold and wet weather. This may even extend into March some years. 

In terms of snowfall, Scotland experiences an average of 38 days of snow per year. This generally occurs in the coldest months of January and February, but can happen as early as November or as late as April.

The best time to go skiing in Scotland is January or February, and flexibility is key to having ideal snow conditions. But people come to Scotland to ski any time between December and early April.

If you do decide to go outside of this time, check out our tips for early-season skiing with a motorhome.
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Where can you go skiing in Scotland?

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the question of where to ski in Scotland. In regards to the best skiing mountains in Scotland, you’ve got five options, and each offers something different. We’ll not only cover the best places to ski in Scotland, but also discuss the benefits of each, and who it is best suited for. Shwoop, shwoop, let’s get started!

1. Glencoe Mountain

It feels only fitting to begin with the oldest ski centre in Scotland, the most traditional option on the list. Glencoe Mountain may be a smaller location, but it has everything you need. You’ll get to enjoy incredible views from the summit, and it is known to have consistent snow. This assures you of a good snowfall and ski season, unlike other locations in Europe.

One of the perks of Glencoe Mountain is that it offers a variation of slopes, with something for beginners as well as experts. This is particularly useful if your group has varied experience with skiing, as no one will be bored or overwhelmed. 

However, as you can imagine, Glencoe Mountain is a very population option for skiing in Scotland. So the car park is quickly full on the weekend, which would be especially difficult when travelling in a motorhome. You’ll either need to get there even earlier to beat the rush, or get public transport from a nearby village.  

If you’re looking to embark on a larger winter road trip in Scotland, Glencoe is part of the Argyll Coastal Route itinerary, which takes you over 129 miles of stunning Scottish scenery. Alternatively, you could combine it with a city trip to nearby Glasgow. 
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2. Nevis Range

Moving on from the oldest, it’s now time to take a look at Scotland’s newest ski region. The Nevis Range has been popular with hill walkers for decades, and now it’s growing into an extremely popular ski centre. This is one of the best places to ski in Scotland for adrenaline junkies. If you’re never satisfied with a blue or red slope, then the Nevis Range is perfect for you.

This resort stands out for its expert off-piste terrain and the unbeatable views from the summit. But while this location is popular with expert skiers, it is poorly suited to beginners, as there are limited gentle slopes and they tend to suffer from poor snow.

Another perk of skiing at the Nevis Range is that it tends not to get crowded, so you won’t spend much (if any) time standing in queues. 

Ben Nevis happens to be one of the stops on our Harry Potter road trip, ideal for if you’re looking for a way to entice the little ones in a ski holiday, or have the time for a longer winter road trip in Scotland. Alternatively, it’s also a stop on the Argyll Coastal Route itinerary.
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3. Glenshee Ski Centre

If you’re not satisfied with the size of the other skiing locations in Scotland, then Glenshee Ski Centre might be the best option for you. It is Scotland’s largest ski area, spread over three valleys with an extensive system of lifts. Thanks to this lift system, it can handle crowds at the height of skiing season, so you’ll never be standing around too long. This is vital, as this is one of the most popular places to ski in Scotland, and the proximity to Edinburgh ensures it is packed on the weekends.

It offers many beginner slopes, which may be appealing to families with young kids, as well as some intermediate runs. But if you’re a thrill seeker, then you might be disappointed with the selection at Glenshee Ski Centre. 

Glenshee is part of the Snow Roads Scenic Route, a 90-mile journey through the Cairngorms National Park, the perfect winter road trip in Scotland. You can easily do this route over a long weekend, but be sure to add an extra day for skiing in Glenshee!
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4. Cairngorm Mountain

Not only are the Cairngorms one of the most popular ski resorts in Scotland, but they’re also one of the most popular national parks in the UK. 

What makes this one of the favoured places to ski in the UK? It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly. It might be the bustling region, which offers plenty to do on bad weather days, so you won’t even miss a day spent not skiing. Alternatively, it could be that the Cairngorms have the most reliable snow in all of Scotland. But for us, it’s that Cairngorm Mountain is only ten minutes away from Britain’s only free-ranging reindeer herd — hurry to spot Rudolph before he’s off working for Santa!

On the right side of the valley, you’ll find intermediate slopes, while the steeper Ciste sector on the left is perfect for advanced skiers. We recommend that you take the mountain railway to the top at least once during your stay. It may be slower than ski lifts, but it offers some incredible sights along the way and is a lot of fun. 

There is also a snow school on-site.

If you’re travelling by motorhome, you’ll have plenty of campsites in the Cairngorms to choose from. In terms of a longer road trip, you could easily combine Cairngorm Mountain with the North East 250 itinerary
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5. Lecht 2090

Whenever families are looking at where to ski in Scotland, we immediately recommend Lecht 2090. You simply won’t find a more family-friendly ski resort in the UK. It not only offers a wide selection of beginner slopes, but even has dedicated learning facilities. 

This doesn’t mean that it’s only for the little ones, as it also has more difficult trails suitable for advanced skiers. It’s one of the smallest locations to ski in Scotland, but it can definitely keep you entertained for a few days. Some find that the short runs lack variety, but everyone seems to agree that the longer runs are more engaging and diverse. 

Despite being close to Cairngorm Mountain, you won’t find any crowds here, which makes it a safe choice. However, do keep in mind that the low altitude can result in poor snow quality, so check ahead of travelling. 

For a winter road trip in Scotland, you could combine visiting Lech 2090 with a visit to the capital, or try one of the many great weekend trips from Edinburgh.

Additionally, this is one of the regions for seeing the northern lights in Scotland, so consider planning in time to do that. 
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Now you’re ready for a great ski trip in Scotland! Enjoying a ski holiday from the comfort of a motorhome is truly the best way to do it, and you’ll never want to do it any differently. 

Check out all of the great motorhomes available for winter sports, and let your frosty adventure begin!