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Scotland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all , i have booked to go away in April for the closing part of the season and was looking at potentially taking a trip to Scotland to break up the long wait.
has anyone had any experience of going up there? I don't expect it to be like the Alps but having never been I'm after some advice on the best area to ski/have a few pints and accommodation idea?
Thank you in advance
Andy
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You have to travel to all of them from accomodation areas.
I would not book well in advance, leave it as a short term decision, need to watch conditions/weather as they are very variable and really makes a difference. There are no trees to head for on Scottish ski hills if weather's bad, it's all open and exposed.


Eastern Scotland/Cairngorms-
Cairngorm has infrastructure problems unresolved currently so maybe hold off that. Aviemore is probabaly best for a bit of an apres ski thing though.
Glenshee is good if there's plenty snow, there is no apres ski as it's far from everywhere. Nearest village of Braemar does not have a ski scene but there are some hotel bars.
Lecht is for beginners really. No apres in Tomintoul, some hotel bars only.

West Scotland-
Nevis Range can be good enough, good gondola takes you up to ski area from the shelter of the carpark, pistes are quite wide, reasonable lift serviced off-piste if conditions allow. Nearby Fort William does have a bit of life for apres ski, big winter mountaineering area.
Glencoe - smallish but more steep areas so better for more advanced skiers. Long way from any urban area, not much in Glencoe village/Ballachulish but can base youself in Fort William. Uplift is pretty slow imo.
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Excellent thank you that's really helpful
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Cairngorm is my favourite place to ride in Scotland. It's a decent sized ski area* with a relatively lively* apres scene in Aviemore, however as mentioned above it looks as though the funicular will be out of action for the season which creates major uplift issues in the absence of large volume snow making facilities. Avoid until the situation becomes clear I would say.

Glenshee is the largest ski area in Scotland but its remote location makes it less attractive to me personally.

If I were you I would probably get accommodation in Fort William and drive either to Nevis or Glencoe from there depending on the weather/conditions. As mentioned above, leave it as late as possible as the snow is unpredictable round here!

* by Scottish standards
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This is a very common question on Snowheads from those who do not live in Scotland. What is required in Scotland for Snowheads, be those singles, or groups, but probably singles skiers (by which I mean those skiing on their own rather than looking for a date), is a cheap accomodation base to meet up with other snowheads in season on the first night. Then you can decide where to go early the next morning, and possibly share vehicle and petrol costs.

Somewhere central which can reach all ski areas early in the morning.

I would think that Stirling, Perth, or if you are west orientated somewhere on the way to Crianlarich (or indeed Crianlarich itself).

The benefit of Crianlarich is that there is a train stop, and a youth hostel as well as a large hotel which often caters for skiers. There is actually a bus which drives people to the side of the road at Glencoe and goes further to Fort William. (although it does not co-ordinate its timing very well with lift opening and closing times)

It is also on a junction of two roads one from Glasgow and the other from Stirling.

Getting to Glenshee or Aviemore from Crianlarich is a bit of a stretch early in the morning, and going against the grain (i.e. the traffic) however possible if there is an extreme dump in another resort.

If I was uncommitted to West or East coast coming from the south, having checked the lifts operating, and the weather forecast and snow reports, I would likely stay in Stirling or Perth. Perth if Glenshee was likely, Stirling if it was an evens bet.

There is a new Travelodge in Stirling, which seems quite cheap. Also one in Perth. There is a youth hostel in Stirling too.

Beware, the roads are very icy when the skiing is good early in the morning before the sun rises, very busy as you get close to resorts when the weather is right. Also, some of the roads are very badly repaired (I am thinking here of the drive from Fort William to Nevis Range, and the road from the turn off to Glencoe towards the car park. Probably also the road to Glenshee from Perth, which is narrow, icy, windy, and can get very congested at Blairgowrie. (making it a good place to stay in order to avoid the early morning congestion although you will be caught up in it on the way back in the evening)

You might think you can drive at the speed limit of 60mph, but in these conditions and with heavy traffic, you will be lucky to average 40mph. Which means you really need to consider how close to where you are going to ski you stay the night before. Glencoe car park as a stop-over might make sense in epic conditions if you want to guarantee skiing there the next day and get a parking spot!
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As someone who comes up from London and is very keen to ski the steep back of Aonach Mor (Nevis Range) (see photo - this tougher bit is called, ironically, Easy Gully, due to the steep entry being an easy ascent for climbers!)

I tend to fly up to Glasgow on Easyjet and hire a car. Fort William is the obvious place to stay if you are mainly going to ski the West. Often, though, Braveheart chair on the back isn't running which restricts things a bit if you don't fancy walking part way uphill to get back to the lifts. Glencoe can be fun but is small.
Cairngorm seems like it will be too problematic with the main uplift out of action this season, but for another year it does have a couple of very good pistes and some interesting off piste off the back and sides (though a lot of that requires a big walk to get back). Glenshee is very good for intermediate skiers but feels a bit bland to me (and is quite far from everywhere).
But don't expect anything like Alpine resorts - it is all quite small scale, though great when conditions are good.
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@Andy2809, as you may have gathered, it is possibly/probably easier to get out to Europe for a weekend.

I am not saying you can’t have great Scottish skiing, but like barbeques in summer, you can’t plan on it.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Monitor this thread, for Scotland ski / snow conditions, from November to May.

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=138653
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Good piste skiing in Scotland coupled with reasonable weather is fairly unlikely in April, touring might be okay, but generally it's best not to book Scotland in advance as there might well be no skiable snow.
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Just pencil in a weekend in Jan or Feb but be ready to cancel.

I would say go West, although Cairngorm was the premier resort in the Scotland it has been run into the ground and at weekends is a no go for me these days.

On their day Nevis and Glencoe offer a great day out. Stay in Fort William for a bit more to do (they are very close) but the Coe do have hobbit huts right at the bottom of the hill which offer cheap accommodation and the cafe bar does not shut till 10pm (I think) so will give you a kind of Apres ski.

A day at each would be a great weekend to be honest. Glencoe do tend to keep the top half of the mountain unpisted.


Alternatively Glenshee (in the East) can be driven to from Edinburgh in 1hr 45 mins and if conditions are good and the Glas Maol is open then it is good for a couple of days.


I have has some of my best days down the Back Corries at Nevis, skiing the Spring run at the Coe and skiing the Tiger(Black) at Glenshee.
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Shocking
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-46289049
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I come from Dundee and used to ski glenshee a lot ,however myself and my friends used to always pick a week day if conditions were good ,as weekends are a nightmare if conditions are good.I used to be able to get from Liff ( just outside Dundee to the bottom of the devils elbow ( where the snow gates are) in about an hour but even if you get there early ,often the roads are closed because they have not been ploughed or gritted.I guess you could stay over in Braemar or In Blair but you used to need a tin hat to go out on a Saturday night there.( maybe changed now though).Aviemore on the other hand can be good fun on a weekend night out.I would definitely say that Nevis Range and Glencoe are far more remote than Glenshee.Long drives from civilisation.
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Nevis range is but a short drive from the Fort, not sure how that counts as remote?
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@Andy2809, you haven’t said where you are coming from, which makes it a bit difficult to say where is easy to get to. Glencoe is 90 minutes from the Erskine Bridge (the major bridge crossing the River Clyde on the western edge of Glasgow). It’s remote if you set off from the East coast right enough but not so much from the South. The scenery from there past Glencoe and up to Nevis is fantastic. Aviemore has the best pubs (had one of my favourite nights out ever in Aviemore after skiing) but recently the skiing and experience has been way better at all the ski areas not called Cairngorm. Can’t see the current ongoing Funicular debacle improving anything, unfortunately.
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Thanks for all the replies everyone.
I'm coming up from wigan. Against better judgment I've booked a house for a 4 night stay in Fort William. The idea being to get over to Nevis range. Obviously a massive gamble but there are 6 of us going so if nothing else we can explore a bit of Scotland and work up a thirst I'm sure it will be a laugh all the same. Watch this space
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Admire your optimism! I think Glencoe is just as good as Nevis. At Nevis, the Alpha tow is notoriously tricky. Any non confident snowboarders may prefer walking on the flat for 5 mins to get to the Quad. Decent length runs but a bit boring unless the Nid ridge and wall are open or there’s a good link from the Goose into Allt Schnechda. The entry points into the Back Corries all look very steep from the top. The slope soon mellows but you need some dangly bits to do it the first time. At Glencoe there are loads of fun routes around the mountain and plenty of places where you can’t see the tows. It can ski very differently one day to another. Also Glencoe is much more sheltered from winds in the southerly quadrant. Think the best pub in FW is still the Grog and Gruel. Does decent food upstairs too. There is a nightclub somewhere too but my memory of it’s location is hazy. Check Winterhighland website for weather forecast and condition reports.
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I've pre booked in order to get cheap train tickets previously and managed to get something each trip. In fact the one time I went up and got no riding in was the time we drove up...to much snow to open the access roads!

With Glencoe's snowfactory you'd have to imagine you chances of leaving with absolutely no riding/skiing are greatly reduced, even if it's a short snowdome experience outdoors!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Excise my ignorance but what it the snow factory? I've Google it and think it's snow making but can't figure out if it's in operation yet or not? TIA
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https://www.inthesnow.com/double-decker-snowfactory-part-of-1m-cairngorm-snowmaking-spend/

Photo of the doubler machine HIE have splurged on, arriving at Cairngorm and a video of the Glencoe machine in action. If you Facebook, Glencoe seem to be doing daily updates on the size of the pile via their page. Plan there and at the Lecht seems to be to create a piste for a definite opening date on a limited area.
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Andy2809 wrote:
Thanks for all the replies everyone.
I'm coming up from wigan. Against better judgment I've booked a house for a 4 night stay in Fort William. The idea being to get over to Nevis range. Obviously a massive gamble but there are 6 of us going so if nothing else we can explore a bit of Scotland and work up a thirst I'm sure it will be a laugh all the same. Watch this space


I've travelled up from London in recent seasons, and had great trips (based in FW).
However, when I promote the trip to friends, I describe it as a long w/e in the Scottish mountains, hopefully with some skiing thrown in, and possibly with some great skiing thrown in (as I experienced last April).
There's quite a lot of other stuff to do - mountain walks obviously, but also the FW to Mallaig train line is justifiably known as one of the world's most scenic. If there are any runners in your group, you might be interested in the Fort William Parkrun which runs from the bottom gondola station.
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Been a very slow start to ski season in Scotland. It is cold here, but not much snowfall. Picture is one of a series I took last March on Ben Ledi which keep changing on my computer background.

Maybe February or March will bring the white stuff!
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https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/anomalygraphs

February has been one of the warmest for a long time. No snow fall, or skiing. March is forecast to start well with regards to snow and temperatures at least.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Snow is falling in Scotland, and forecast is for lots of snow and temperatures dropping further all the way towards mid to end March. Should be good for skiing any time soon, particularly starting next week.
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Glencoe was good yesterday. Not sure how long it will last though!

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