Skiing in Scotland

By user41563, 6 Aug '14 at 08:55

Scotland is unlikely to be many people’s first choice of destination when planning a ski or snowboarding holiday, but in light of the season that they have just had, perhaps a trip to the pistes of the Highlands should begin to be considered with more enthusiasm.

To widespread surprise, the Scottish ski season of 2013/2014 was blessed with more snow than many Alpine resorts. One of the first persons to bring attention to this was famed mountain climber – and born-and-bred Scotsman – Hamish MacInnes who has been hiking throughout the peaks of the highlands since the 1940s, and said that he had never seen the mountains so overladen with snow. This wasn’t heartily welcomed across the board in his profession. The snow that principally collected on the main plateaus was in powder form and it was the same at the highest levels as well which is not ideal for hikers and greatly increases the likelihood of avalanches.

On the slopes

Yet for Ski Scotland the snow made for a great season and one they hope to see repeated in years to come. Ski Scotland reported 235, 303 skier days which they estimated injected the country’s economy with over £20 million.
Heather Nigus from Ski Scotland told the BBC ‘Back at the end of January, there was deeper snow on most of Scotland's upper pistes than there was in world-renowned resorts in the Alps, Pyrenees and even the Rockies. In fact, some pistes in the Highlands were twice as deep as those overseas – and the snow kept on coming and coming.’

This winter the Nevis Range saw its busiest day of skiing in the last decade. This was despite problems caused by the unprecedented snow fall which partially buried some of their ski lifts rendering them unusable for days at a time. Such obstacles neither deterred eager skiers from turning up at the resort nor – if the resort’s testimonials are to be believed – hindered their time on the slopes.

La Grave for Glencoe?

So is Scotland really an attractive alternative to the Alps or Pyrenees? Well, perhaps. The size of the resorts and the facilities on offer in Scotland for the main part compare unfavorably with those found in continental Europe. For a weekend trip however – perhaps only really feasible for those living in Britain, uninspired by the dry slopes of the North – you are unlikely to find yourself bored or feeling unfulfilled.

There are however other drawbacks beyond the scope of Highland resorts. Like the UK in general, Scotland is susceptible to changeable weather. You should never expect the sun of Sourthern France. Heavy snow fall can quickly be sabotaged by gale force winds or torrential showers that will dissipate as rapidly as they appear. Therefore if you are considering a trip up North, warm, dry and comfortable clothes are essential. Shops like Zalando offer a wide range of ski wear to choose from, making it easier to prepare your ski trip with as little prep time as possible.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself skiing in Scotland on a fine day, the scenery can be stunning and incomparable to that of France, Austria or Switzerland. In addition to this, you are less likely to be hit by the extortionate rates that are a matter of course at more popular locations.
In any case, it is certainly worth giving Scotland a try.

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