Aberdeenshire: Home To The Biggest Ski Area In Scotland
Three of Scotland's ski areas can be found in the Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands - Glenshee, Lecht, and the Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre. The area offers excellent skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country facilities.
Glenshee boasts the most extensive skiing area in Scotland with 40 kilometres of downhill runs over four mountains. Its 36 slopes are served by Scotland's largest ski lift system. The 20 lifts take skiers and snowboarders to a maximum height of 1068 metres altitude. The ski area suits all levels with 10 green runs, 13 blue, 13 red, and two black. Advanced skiers will particularly enjoy the famous moguls on the Tiger black run.
Glenshee is also a favourite among snowboarders with its huge snowbowls, bumps, jumps, and its natural halfpipe. The area also hosted the 2001 Scottish Snowboarding Championships. Apres ski in Glenshee mostly centres round its lively hotel bars and discos. The ski centre is easy to access, just a 25-minute drive from the cities of Dundee and Perth.
The Lecht Ski Centre (635 metres) is a natural playground offering outdoor winter activities for skiers and snowboarders. Its 20 ski runs (seven green, nine blue, three red, and one black) reach a maximum height of 780 metres and can be accessed via its 14 lifts - mostly drags, but there is also a chairlift. The lifts are able to transport up to 10,000 skiers per hour.
The compact ski area of Lecht is particularly well suited to beginners; its nursery area is accessed via five drags. Intermediates have a good choice of blue runs, while experts take on the challenging Harrier run and time themselves on the racing piste with its own computer timing system. Lecht is also complete with a funpark equipped with table tops, jumps, log slides, and a halfpipe.
The ski centre has been operating since the '70s and has grown each year into a popular winter sports centre. The relatively low altitude of the resort means that snow cover can be variable, although there are now six snow cannons on four kilometres of its runs.
There is also a ski hire facility at the bottom of the slopes. Apres ski facilities include local pubs, hotels, and discos in the surrounding villages. The Lecht Ski Centre is situated on the A939 Cockbridge to Tomintoul road. This road is famous for becoming blocked with snow drifts; be sure to listen to local traffic reports before heading up the mountains.
The Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre is a major cross-country ski area in Scotland with many trails through Clashindarroch Forest. It is Britain's only purpose-built all-weather facility for cross-country skiing. Ski hire and tuition also are available. When there is good snow, skiers can explore high Clashindarroch Forest trails 21 kilometres from the centre.
The Clashindarroch Forest is well pisted and offers some of the best cross-country trails in Scotland. The forest averages 45 days of skiing each year. The main route, ‘Haute Route', is a 10-kilometre ridge-top trail and offers views of surroundings hills.
When there isn't any snow, skiers can use the indoor centre's 400 metres of downhill matting and 800-metre tarmac rollerski track. The The Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre offers various courses, including the Telemark Intro, Telemark Improver, Telemark Intermediate, Classic Ski Day, Classic Improvers, Classic Ski Weekend, and Skate Ski.
A number of airlines operate routes directly into Inverness, Glasgow, and Edinburgh Airports, from the rest of the UK and Europe.