5 best ski resorts in Scotland to push powder on

Find your feet on Scotland’s majestic ski slopes this winter.

Skiing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about holidaying in the UK, but it definitely should be.

From December to March, Scotland’s central mountains transform into a winter wonderland and are perfect for a bit of off-the-beaten-track skiing or snowboarding.

Quickly compare Scotland’s best ski resorts:

ResortSki-in/ski-outDistanceLift pass price (3 days, adult)Is there a resort village?
Cairngorm Mountain ResortNo4-hour drive from Edinburgh£84No (most stay in Aviemore)
Glencoe Mountain ResortNo2.5-hour drive from Edinburgh£81No (most stay in Glencoe)
Glenshee Ski CentreNo2-hour drive from Edinburgh£96No (most stay in Braemar)
Nevis Range Mountain ResortNo3-hour drive from Edinburgh£88No (most stay in Fort William)
The Lecht Ski CentreNo3-hour drive from Edinburgh£96No (most stay in Tomintoul)

If you’re open with where to ski in Scotland this year, consider purchasing an All-Areas Season Ticket. It’ll set you back around £550, but you’ll have unlimited access to each of the five Scottish ski resorts (Cairngorm, Glencoe, Clenshee, Nevis Range and Lecht), so you can give them all a go and settle where the snow is best.

Which is the best ski resort in Scotland?

Take your pick out of one of Scotland’s five ski resorts or visit all five with the handy flexi pass.

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1. Cairngorm Mountain Resort, Aberdeenshire:
Best for off-piste skiing

Together with 30km of piste runs that cater to almost any ability level, Cairngorm boasts some of the best runs in the region for experienced backcountry skiers. The resort also offers a selection of family-friendly activities, including free geocaching trails and a new 70-metre tubing run.

  • Location: Cairngorms National Park, Aberdeenshire (4-hour drive from Edinburgh)
  • Runs and terrain: 35 runs (31% beginner, 29% intermediate, 40% advanced)
  • Length of runs: 30km
  • Vertical drop: 560 metres

Pros:

  • One of Scotland’s largest ski areas
  • On-site ski school that offers both private and group lessons
  • Long snow season

Cons:

  • Large number of season ticket holders
  • High snowfall can cause last-minute road closures
  • The nearest accommodation is a 25-minute drive away


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2. Glencoe Mountain Resort, Argyll:
Best for on-site accommodation and expert runs

Nestled within the Scottish Highlands and enjoying views over the iconic peak of Buachaille, Glencoe is one of the most picturesque skiing spots in the country.

Albeit basic, Glencoe is one of Scotland’s only ski resorts to offer a choice of accommodation on site, in the form of fully heated micro lodges. This is about all it provides, as you’ll need to bring your own bedding, sleeping mat and other camping equipment.

  • Location: Glencoe Mountains, Argyll (2.5-hour drive from Edinburgh)
  • Runs and terrain: 19 runs (37% beginner, 26% intermediate, 37% advanced)
  • Length of runs: 25km
  • Vertical drop: 803 metres

Pros:

  • Discounts on day passes during the weekdays
  • Home to the iconic Flypaper run
  • Easily accessible by public transport from Glencoe or Bridge of Orchy

Cons:

  • Snow can be unpredictable
  • Steepest runs are very rarely groomed
  • Usually opens later in the season due to late snowfall


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3. Glenshee Ski Centre, Aberdeenshire:
Best for variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders

Stretching across four mountains and three valleys, you won’t have to ski the same run twice when you holiday at Glenshee. Just over 20 lifts will take you to the beginning of 40km of pisted snow that is perfect for all skiing and snowboarding abilities.

These fantastic runs have not gone unnoticed, so make sure to book your accommodation and lift passes in advance to guarantee a space on the slopes.

  • Location: Cairngorms National Park, Aberdeenshire (2-hour drive from Edinburgh)
  • Runs and terrain: 36 runs (22% beginner, 36% intermediate, 42% advanced)
  • Length of runs: 40km (2,000 acres of skiable terrain)
  • Vertical drop: 418 metres

Pros:

  • Runs cater to all ability levels
  • Ever-improving and increasing number of chair lifts
  • A two-hour drive from Edinburgh

Cons:

  • Weekends can get very busy
  • Roads to ski resort can be closed off due to snow
  • No on-site accommodation


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4. The Lecht Ski Centre, Aberdeenshire:
Best for families

With a lower vertical drop than most, The Lecht’s slopes are ideal for beginners or intermediate skiers. The short runs, rows of magic carpets and drag lifts are close to the day lodge facilities and perfect for those who haven’t quite found their ski legs.

For the budget-conscious that aren’t afraid of wrapping up warm, the resort also allows campervans to park up in the car park overnight.

  • Location: Cairngorms National Park, Aberdeenshire (3-hour drive from Edinburgh)
  • Runs and terrain: 22 runs (25% beginner, 45% intermediate, 30% advanced)
  • Length of runs: 20km
  • Vertical drop: 188 metres

Pros:

  • Range of beginner ski slopes and facilities
  • Fewer people on the slopes, even during the holidays
  • Nestled into the scenic Cairngorms National Park

Cons:

  • Poor and unpredictable snowfall
  • Lots of short runs that can get boring for more experienced skiers
  • Can’t be reached by public transport


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5. Nevis Range Mountain Resort, Inverness-shire:
Best for equipment hire and lessons

As a newcomer to the winter sports scene in Scotland, the Nevis Range Mountain Resort is decked out with lots of modern luxuries. These include the UK’s only quad chair, a gondola and an artificial surface slope for beginners. Anyone in need of a confidence boost can book a comprehensive skiing course or a quick refresher course here too.

  • Location: Nevis Mountain Range, Inverness-shire (3-hour drive from Edinburgh)
  • Runs and terrain: 35 runs (20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 45% advanced)
  • Length of runs: 20km
  • Vertical drop: 550 metres

Pros:

  • One of Scotland’s newest ski resorts
  • Highest ski resort in Scotland
  • Easily accessed via public transport

Cons:

  • Lifts likely to close in high winds
  • Relies heavily on snowfall
  • Growing in popularity and slopes can get crowded


Best ski resorts in Scotland by the numbers

Where can you go skiing in Scotland?

You’ll find the majority of Scotland’s ski resorts located in the central portion of the country, sandwiched somewhere between Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow.

When is the best time to ski in Scotland?

Unfortunately, Scotland’s weather is incredibly unpredictable so when and where is best to ski can vary significantly from year to year.

Generally, ski season begins in December and ends somewhere between late March and the beginning of April. However, exact seasonal opening times will differ between resorts.

For the best chance of ski snow, visit in January or February. Just remember to check the conditions before you head off. Try to avoid visiting during February half-term if you want to lose the crowds.

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