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Skiing in Scotland: Glenshee and Glencoe

The recent spell of cold, wintry weather in Scotland, with its heavy snowfalls, might not have been welcomed by everyone, but for those keen on skiing in Scotland, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

GlencoeTwo of the five main centres for skiing in Scotland, and two of the oldest, are Glenshee and Glencoe. Both offer a range of facilities for skiers and snowboarders, whether amateurs or professionals, single, families or children. If you are planning a Scottish ski trip, then it’s advisable to check the snow conditions with the ski centre in advance, either by checking online or phoning, as this can help avoid disappointment if they’re not up to scratch.


According to history, it was in the late 1930s that people first began skiing in Glenshee, but it wasn’t until after the war that they began constructing simple rope tows on the slopes.

ski_glensheeGlenshee or Gleann Shith means Glen of the Fairies in Gaelic and the 2,000 acre skiing area, located in the Cairnwell pass between the Scottish Highlands and the Lowlands of Aberdeenshire, is truly a fairyland. Depending on the availability of snow, the annual skiing season runs from December to April, allowing avid skiers to make good use of the 36 ski runs, totalling 40km.

GlensheeThere is something for all skiing abilities, with 8 green, 13 blue, 13 red and 2 black ski runs. The longest run is Glas Maol, which stretches to 2km.

Ample parking is available near the bottom of the Cairnwell chairlift and you’ll find the ticket office and Base Café nearby. If you don’t have your own ski equipment, everything you need can be hired for a small fee.


Glencoe Mountain, in Argyll, is less than two hours away from Edinburgh and Glasgow and is one of the oldest ski resorts in Scotland. The resort first opened in 1956, with the first ski lift built in 1959. It overlooks some of the most beautiful mountains in Scotland. The resort was initially at the forefront of the skiing revolution in Scotland, as the ski industry only really began to become popular in the 1960s.

Glencoe SnowboardingIf you favour traditional, old ski resorts, then Glencoe is a good option to choose – it’s also one to watch, as the new owner is promising lots of new developments and improved facilities in the years to come. In total, there’s 1400 ft of vertical runs, seven lifts in operation at the resort, and something for all abilities. Plus, it boasts the longest vertical drop and Scotland’s steepest on-piste run, so plenty to keep you busy.

As of early January 2010, payment is by cash only, as their card machines are late arriving. Alternatively, you can book your ticket online in advance.

Also read our Ski Gear Packing List Guide for your next ski adventure. 

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