While the UK battles week after week of challenging weather, skiers have been celebrating record snow cover in Scotland.
Indeed, recordings at Nevis Range, near Fort William, reveal that snow has fallen every 24 hours since opening on December 20 last year.
Nevis Range managing director Marian Austin said: “We’ve almost forgotten what it’s like not to have snow falling each day.
“But the snow has not come without its challenges and the opening up process can take much longer than normal.
“We’ve also been battered by south-westerly winds, which are not particularly good for our operations and have damaged our tows.
“But looking ahead, with the amount of snow we already have, once the weather becomes more settled, the skiing will be amazing. We’re already planning to continue skiing right into spring.”
Scottish skiing in holiday time
The Winter Olympics 2014 has been inspiring many more people in the UK to give skiing and snowboarding a go. And with families enjoying half-term holidays, and the Easter holidays less than six weeks away, Scotland offers the perfect destination for a short skiing break.
From England, you might choose to fly to one of the Scottish airports, or catch the train, before driving to the resorts. If you live in northern England or Scotland then driving makes a good sense, or else you can catch a train or bus to arrive very close to most of the resorts.
Guide to Scottish ski resorts
Cairngorm, near Aviemore
It’s the spectacular setting of Cairngorm Mountain, located in an area specially protected under European environmental law, which makes the ski centre a big favourite.
Easy access to the nearby town of Aviemore, by both car and train, from across Scotland is also a bonus.
There are 11 lifts, as well as a modern funicular railway that transports skiers and snowboarders to the top of the Ptarmigan Bowl.
The Bowl is a snow-sure basin with a beginners’ area and a conveniently placed restaurant and bar.
The resort, which is ideal for all levels of skiing and with a beginners’ tow, plus great ski school deals, it’s now attracting growing numbers of families.
The Lecht, Aberdeenshire
Lots of fresh snow is being reported at the ski resort that sits at 2090ft above sea level in eastern Cairngorm.
The Lecht boasts a mix of green runs (beginner), blue runs (intermediate), red runs (difficult), as well as a black run (very difficult) offer something for all.
In particular, a gentle and rock-free nursery area is perfect for beginner skiers and snowboarders, especially with an easy-to-ride uplift tow.
This is also Scotland’s snow fun location with activities such as snow-tubing (sliding on inflatable tubes) on offer.
See The Lecht
Nevis Range, north of Fort William
Scotland’s highest ski area is also considered one of the most impressive in terms of landscape, with a huge sense of open space and a dramatic backdrop of mountains.
The centre boasts a dozen lifts including Scotland’s only ski gondola, and provides access to slopes that are best suited to beginners and intermediates.
For daredevils, the off-piste skiing and snowboarding at Nevis Range is highly acclaimed, especially the amazing possibilities of adventures in the “back corries”.
Here you’ll find challenging cornices, drop offs and ridges. (It’s important that you are avalanche aware and an experienced off-piste skier. Why not book a Back Corrie Workshop?)
Other sports include ice climbing, made accessible via the Gondola.
See Nevis Range
Glenshee, near Blairgowrie, north of Dundee
With 21 lifts and 36 runs – totalling 40km of pisted slopes – Glenshee has the most extensive skiing in Scotland.
There’s a wide range of natural terrain to suit all abilities of skiers and snowboarders. Plus there is the capability to make 20,000 square metres of artificial snow if required.
Glenshee is most easily accessible from Edinburgh and Perth.
See Glenshee Ski
Originally known as the White Corries, Glencoe was Scotland’s first commercial ski area.
The dramatic landscape was partly formed by a massive thickness of ice that existed at the central site of the ice age in Britain, helping to create an interesting series of lobes and terraces that are still changing today.
This resort is a favourite among hardy and more experienced skiers as it boasts some of Scotland’s steepest runs, including the black-graded Fly Paper.
However, there are still many other runs – greens, blues and reds – that will suit less experienced skiers and snowboarders.
In recent years, the natural terrain has attracted increasing numbers of snowboarders. Glencoe is located only 75 miles north of Glasgow.
For further information see www.ski-scotland.com
Always check the conditions of the resorts on-line before heading off.