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Skiing In Scotland

Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:11 pm

I learned to ski in Scotland over 20 years ago and in my first season I remember skiing from the first Sunday in January until around the 2nd week in May if memory serves correctly. I remember there being so much snow that year that I did not realise there were snow fences(3ft high) all over the mountain until the following season when conditions were not so great.

Many a Sunday I spent thawing/drying out on the bus at The Lecht having left home at 6am with our flasks full of Heinz tomato soup and the occasional treat in the cafe of a Scotch Pie.

It was good training and conditions on my travels have to be pretty awful for me to moan much after that grounding. We say that if you can ski in Scotland you can ski anywhere and that is largely true. I used to laugh at the "alpine conditions" quotes on the local snow reports and then arrive to sheet ice, not hardpack, clear ice!

I tend to not ski at home in Scotland as queues on the weekends are large when conditions are good and I cant take many days off when I come to the USA every winter for a month! Anyway, this season has started and conditions have been good. Snow is forecast for Monday and with many people from the USA that I meet on my travels having no idea that we can ski in Scotland I thought I would share.....

Check out the 5 resorts in the link and then this year for some great pictures of what is possible over in my small country that I call home.

Skiing in Scotland

re: Skiing In Scotland

Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:22 pm

Thanks for the report. I knew there was skiing in Scotland, but you are correct about people's perceptions. When I went to California to go skiing, you would surprise by the amount of skiers, let alone people, that didn't know there was skiing in California.

So skiing in Scotland might not be so crazy after all...check out this report from 7 years ago from Ireland. :P And people call ME crazy!!! :lol:

Wicklow Mountains, Ireland - December 30, 2000
Last edited by Patrick on Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: re: Skiing In Scotland

Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:27 pm

Patrick wrote:So skiing in Scotland might not be so crazy after all...check out this report from 7 years ago from Ireland. :P And people can ME crazy!!! :lol:

Wicklow Mountains, Ireland - December 30, 2000

WTF?? :shock: There's the first apparent glitch to arise from the merger of the archives into the current boards, for that sure as shootin' wasn't posted by me!

Re: re: Skiing In Scotland

Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:37 pm

Admin wrote:WTF?? :shock: There's the first apparent glitch to arise from the merger of the archives into the current boards, for that sure as shootin' wasn't posted by me!

Denial, denial... :roll: :^o

Don't worry, it was anonymous contribution prior to the merger. I just noticed that it now said Admin. I was wanting to see if anyone thought you posted that TR from Ireland or if anyone would notice. :lol:

re: Skiing In Scotland

Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:02 am

haha, thats dedication for you :lol:

I get some real funny looks when I real off where I have skied in the USA. Even in the USA when I say I've skied New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota etc etc people are like WTF, is it not just Colorado :lol:

Here's my mate Mike's reports from skiing in Wales a couple winters back.

Skiing Wales

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:06 am

Hi everyone, I've been lurking on the forum for a while as it's a great resource for snow conditions and trip reports. Thought I would post some info on Scottish skiing this year as we have some great terrain and current conditions that most people on here wouldn't be aware of. ... ter200708/

I've attached a link above that shows what's been on offer this season. The pics are from Nevis Range in Fort William which has some amazing expert terrain. The link can also be followed to show pics from the other Scottish ski areas. ... php?50,870
Again this is link to some more pics from Nevis Range this week.

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:59 am

Welcome, HighRustler. Great pix.

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:11 am

Thanks admin. I enjoy your trip reports and pics from Alta and thought I would share some pics from Scotland. We have some great ski terrain here but don't always get the snow but this year we have.

I've been over to Utah twice in the last four winters and always had amazing conditions. Alta and Snowbasin being my favourite resorts although they were all good!

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:21 am

That left me wondering -- is your handle an Alta reference, or is there another story behind it?

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:35 am

I thought you might ask me that one.

Yes it's an Alta reference. I use it on other forums in the UK so thought I would use it here too. The runs in the pics I sent are called Chancer, Yellow Belly and Easy Gully. Didn't fancy using any of those so HighRustler seemed as good as any.

re: Skiing In Scotland

Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:21 am

I didn't know there was terrain that good in Scotland. Pictures look a bit like New Zealand. Do you have to hike to those bowls above the Braveheart chair, or is there another lift up there?

Braveheart would not have been a bad handle for a Scottish skier, especially accompanied by a pic hucking off one of those cornices :wink: .

re: Skiing In Scotland

Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:39 am

Hi Tony,

No you can access the bowls from the front side using a combination of lifts to assist. Coire Dubh (the Black Corrie for those who don't speak Gaelic) is where Braveheart is located. There are numerous entry points all lift served. However to do a second lap a traverse back around to the front side is required from the top of braveheart.

There are two other corries that can be accesssed from the summit lift and both of those have a longer vertical and more backcountry feel. Both funnel back to the bottom of Braveheart and then the chair can be used to gain enough elevation to traverse back around to the front side and do another lap.

I was at Nevis Range both days this weekend and the snow remains very very good with fresh snow both days. The link below shows some of the pics from Sunday. ... php?50,890

Enjoy reading your trip reports from various places around the world and the great snow info you provide. Keep up the good work!

re: Skiing In Scotland

Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:26 pm

Feel free to correct me...

But I was under the impression that there is almost never decent coverage in the Scottish mountains for really good skiing due to the following reasons:
lots of mixed precip - mountains not quite high enough
strong winds
lack of vegetation

The result is skiing where snow fences have been constructed or in the gullies/ravines. And the season is haphazard at best - maybe a few good days to weeks.
Last edited by ChrisC on Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

re: Skiing In Scotland

Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:48 pm

My impression has been the same as ChrisC's. But I thought terrain was also more limited.

There are many ski regions of the world (Eastern North America?) where the quality of terrain and skiing can be good, but the chances of decent snow conditions are sufficiently low that the skiing is only appealing to the local flexible drive-up market. So for us travelling types, it falls into the category of "If I'm in the region for other reasons, I might want to check it out."

re: Skiing In Scotland

Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:49 am

Chris and Tony,

Your comments are very valid ones. Season length here is variable. In general, in recent years, the season has rarely got properly underway prior to Jan. However once the winds have done their work the gullies can be filled deep and lift served skiing until the first weekend in May is not uncommon.

We have had 3 or 4 worse than average seasons in the past 7. 2001 was the last season to rival this one, was that a La Nina year too? Not sure what influence La Nina has on snowfall in Scotland.

The terrain in the attached links I sent previously is very rocky and requires quite a depth to have a good cover. However it is high enough (above 3000ft) to get sufficient snowfall year after year and even in a poor year I have still been able to ski the back corries. The difference with this year is that there is sufficient snow cover to the bottom of the Braveheart chair which normally does not run.

I wouldn't book your airfares specifically to come here and ski :) but as Tony said if you are in the region then it may be worthwhile having a look. Happy to be your guide if you're ever over here.

In the next couple of weeks, predominately non lift served gully skiing will commence on the various gullies on Ben Nevis (highest mountain in UK and reknowned for winter climbing) and other mountains in the area.

I've attached a pic below to let you see the various gullies that are skiable on Ben Nevis.
Ben Nevis Gullies.JPG
Ben Nevis Gully Routes
Ben Nevis Gullies.JPG (58.54 KiB) Viewed 12460 times
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