Have you considered a ski holiday in Scotland?
The ski enthusiast among us can usually be found gliding through the Alps or skiing down the slopes of Switzerland. However, a ski holiday in Scotland should also be added to their bucket list – and yours! For a start, there is more than one snow-capped location to choose from and each one will provide you with the perfect escape into a white winter wonderland, while you master your moves on the mountains.
For the beginner, ‘learn to ski holidays’ in Scotland are also an option for solos, couples, and adventurous families alike. Adventurer, amateur or experienced enthusiast, we have discovered everything you need to know to have a top ski holiday in Scotland while embracing the freedom to sweep down the slopes.
When can you go on a ski holiday in Scotland?
Ski season usually starts in Scotland in early December and runs into early April. However, as the season is dependent on snowfall, you’ll find that the best time for skiing in Scotland is actually January and February. Before heading out, look up the ski centres webcam to check out the live feed.
The Skiing in Scotland Map
For more information about the snow conditions at your chosen Scottish ski centre, VisitScotland has plenty of pointers and useful info.
When you have an idea of when to go and what the snow and weather should be like, booking a last-minute ski holiday in Scotland is not a bad idea. However, it is wise to book your ski break in advance – don’t leave it to chance. Then, with Free Spirit Travel Insurance if you need to cancel your trip for any reason, up to £5,000 can be claimed back.
On the other hand, if your travel or accommodation provider suffers from financial failure before or after your departure and your trip is cancelled, with Free Spirit Super Duper cover you will be covered for end supplier failure.
What do you need to wear when you go skiing?
You will want to ensure you have a warm, comfortable and safe ski holiday in Scotland. In that regard it goes without saying that you will need to take some suitable clothing to wear.
- A waterproof and breathable ski jacket.
- An elastic powder shirt, to keep the snow away from your skin.
- Ski pants that are waterproof with an elastic cuff around the ankles or boots, to keep out snow maintain your temperature.
- Waterproof ski gloves or mittens that are snug but roomy enough so you can pinch your fingers and hold your poles.
- Base layers such as long-sleeved tops and legging-style-bottom combos which are made of synthetic materials. These materials are perfect for all weathers because they dry quickly.
- Lightweight fleece for intense activities but slightly heavier if you’re a beginner.
- Knee-high ski socks made of merino wool. These will provide good padding and support while keeping moisture out. Your toes will be cosy too but only wear one pair at a time to avoid restricting blood flow.
- Ski goggles with 100% UV protection, to shield your eyes from the sun and snow.
- A neck warmer to stay cosy and keep windburn at bay.
Ski holidays for beginners
Learning to ski can be achieved at a Scottish BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) affiliated ski school. At the school, equipment hire and instruction is provided. Each instructor will guide you onto the snow and you’ll be encouraged to follow the Snowlife snowsport awards scheme.
This award helps you to explore movements, sensations, terrain and equipment safely, while you develop the skills and independence required to help you traverse the mountain with ease. No matter your age or ability, go from beginner to challenging the pistes of Scotland during your Ski holiday!
What can I expect at a ski school?
- An electric lift to help you onto the snow with a large run-out area to practice.
- Accredited BASI instructors to ensure you have fun and enjoy the slopes safely.
- Easy slopes to start with before mastering pistes.
- The opportunity to use artificial slopes to learn the basics.
- Lessons in groups which are tailored to your needs, abilities and numbers in your party. If this is your first ski family holiday, you will be able to learn altogether.
- To learn not just how to ski but how to snowboard when you book in advance.
- You can also book a private lesson if you’re new to skiing or just require a refresher lesson.
Where can I find a ski school in Scotland?
- Try the Insh Hall Ski School in the Cairngorms National Park, which is a safe environment for all skiers. The Cairngorm Mountain also offers the best beginner conditions.
- The Glenshee Ski and Snowboard School. Glenshee ski centre is the largest one in the UK. Covering an area of 2,000 acres (790 hectares), you can ski or snowboard over four mountains and three valleys.
- Aviemore Ski School in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountain range. Here you can book a range of snowboarding and ski packages for the family or for solo travellers.
Whichever ski school you choose, always follow the safety guidelines for the activity concerned and use the appropriate and recommended safety equipment.
When hiring equipment (such as skis, boards, boots and poles), avoid the queues by picking it up the night before. Snowsport equipment can be sourced from a reputable snowsport service or outdoor ski centre.
Where can I go on a Ski holiday in Scotland?
Already clocked up some time on the slopes? The top five outdoor ski centres in Scotland are:
- Glencoe Mountain, which lies 26 miles south of Fort William on Rannoch Moor. With spectacular views of Buachaille Etive Mor, this centre is ideal for experienced snow sports enthusiasts. Sledging is also an option with sledges provided!
- The Cairngorm Ski Area, Aviemore for adrenaline seekers, beginners and anyone who wants to observe the panoramas of the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland’s highlands.
- The Lecht Ski Centre, which can be found within Scotland’s largest National Park, in the Eastern Cairngorms. It is the smallest ski centre but a natural playground for all snow sports, while it sits 2,090 feet above sea level!
- Also in the Eastern Cairngorms, you can find the Glenshee Ski Centre, where you have 36 runs to choose from.
- The Nevis Range Way, Fort William. Here you can ski up to 1,190 metres high on Aonach Mor. The runs are varied, and different winter activities are available. To view all the activities we cover in our Ski Travel Insurance Policy click here.
Once you have decided on your ski holiday location in Scotland, book some private accommodation, close to the slopes.
Where should I stay in Scotland to go Skiing?
Top accommodation for a ski holiday in Scotland:
- Stay in a self catering cottage in the Cairngorms, that’s warm, welcoming and well equipped with all your home comforts and the option to watch the local wildlife.
- A lodge near the slopes of the Cairngorms National Park, which is round the corner from independent shops, bars and restaurants, as well as historic buildings. The Cairngorms National Park is also home to The Whisky Trail.
- Luxury log cabins. When you want a break from skiing, explore the coastline of the North East of Scotland before ending the day with a fish supper, on the banks of the River Deveron.
- A lux lochside chalet in Fort William with views of Loch Eil, close to the Nevis Range Way. A place for snow dreams to come true. Days out to spot the Loch Ness Monster are optional.
- Give glamping a go in Ballachulish, Argyll & Bute. Stay in a luxury lodge with your own hot tub. With views of Loch Linnhe, you will be transported away in no time.
We hope we have inspired you to take to the slopes during a ski holiday in Scotland. While there, you can learn from some of the best ski instructors to master your moves, experience the thrills of different runs and take in the sights of some of the great Scottish moors.
Don’t forget to take Free Spirit Ski Travel Insurance along for the ride. You can find all the features and benefits of our Ski Travel Insurance here.
Plus, if you’re feeling spontaneous and want to give any other winter sports a go, view our Winter Sports Travel Insurance as well.