Where can you ski in the UK?

Tom Cramp


Gliding through fresh powder up to your knees in the Alps is difficult to match, but the UK does have some solid options when it comes to domestic skiing. Weather permitting, Scotland and even the North of England can serve as fitting locations for your annual ski holiday. French chalets can be recreated with luxury lodges and open fires, and while the slopes may not contain the same amount of hair-raising black runs found elsewhere in Europe, they are excellent places for beginners to learn and intermediates to refine their technique. Here are the best options for skiing in the UK.

Glenshee, Perth and Kinross

Largely considered the most extensive skiing area in the UK, Glenshee has enough variety to quench the thirst of skiers and snowboarders up and down the country. There are nursery slopes aplenty for beginners; 26 blues and reds differing in length and intensity for intermediates; and two black runs for the experts, including the infamous mogul-covered Tiger run.

Lift passes will be available to buy from mid-December 2020 to April 2021. Large areas of the resort depend on natural snowfall, which is usually heaviest between January and March, but the plastic run and the beginner’s area are covered by snow cannons so will be open on December 19. Even at peak season snow is not always guaranteed, so be prepared to travel at short notice.

You can find equipment hire on site. There are also several accommodation options nearby such as luxury lodges, bed & breakfasts, hotels and glamping.

Day pass price: £32 adults/ £21 juniors and seniors

Getting there: 8.5-hour drive from London / 2 hours from Edinburgh

Lecht 2090, Aberdeenshire

Found at 2090 feet above sea level, Lecht 2090’s ability to keep the snow it gets makes it one of the more reliable UK skiing options. The 20 well-maintained runs and 14 lifts are great for beginners and intermediates, while the popular Penguin Park and their in-house ski school make it ideal for families too. Lecht 2090 does have one black run, but experts might get a little bored over a couple of days. Lifts are due to start running early December as soon as government guidance deems it safe.

It’s best to book equipment online in advance. A list of excellent accommodation options can be found on Lecht 2090’s website.

Day pass price: £32 adults / £21 juniors / £16 children

Getting there: 9.5-hour drive from London / 3 hours from Edinburgh

Cairngorm Mountain, Aviemore

Snowsports season on Cairngorm mountain is due to start on December 19, 2020, and has a little something for everyone. With 30km of runs from greens to blacks, the ski area has been on the mountain for 50 years and is one of the most famous ski-destinations in Scotland. The fully maintained freestyle park and backcountry tour guides also add something a little different to this resort.

March and April are considered the best months for snowfall on Cairngorm Mountain. Equipment hire is available all season, while the nearby town of Aviemore has a selection of 5-star hotels and numerous bars, restaurants and cafes for visitors to make a weekend out of their trip.

Day pass price: £30 adults / £18.50 juniors

Getting there: 9-hour drive from London / 3 hours from Edinburgh or 1 hour from Inverness. Aviemore also has a train station.

Nevis Range, Fort William

The Nevis Range not only has 35 ski runs, but it also provides the best backcountry skiing in the UK. The gondola will take you up to 650m and from there you can take your pick of the blues and reds that snake off down the mountain in the shadow of Ben Nevis – Scotland’s highest mountain.

The centre at Nevis Range provides workshops that explain conditions in the back-corries to get you ready for backcountry skiing, but this is only advised for experienced skiers with the right equipment. February and March are the best times to go here as the back-corries rely on westerly winds to fill them with snow.

Nevis Range has suspended the sale of season passes for now, but some skiing should be available here in 2021. Nearby accommodation at Fort William will be ready for when the area does open, as will the onsite equipment hire.

Day pass price: £35.50 adults / £23.50 juniors and seniors

Getting there: 9-10 hours from London / 3 hours from Glasgow 

Raise, Helvellyn, Cumbria

Raise is a fell located next to Helvellyn, England’s third-tallest mountain, and is home to the Lake District Ski Club. They operate a 360m button lift that gives skiers access to nine pristine runs, the longest of which is a mile long. Club members can enjoy sixty days of skiing during particularly good seasons.

Memberships are available to purchase this season, but unpredictable weather conditions mean that you’ll have to keep a close eye on the forecast and the club’s social media to know when the lift is running. Also bear in mind that facilities are limited; a small members hut and toilet will be open with social distancing in place, but that’s about it.

The bottom of the lift is an hour’s hike from the small village of Glenridding. No equipment hire is available, nor is there any tuition. Raise is not the most suitable place for families or beginners. That being said, the closer proximity to England’s cities and the ungroomed nature of the slopes make it a great location for some rugged domestic skiing in 2021.

Day pass price: £30 / membership is £50 per year

Getting there: 5.5-hour drive from London

Indoor slopes due to open December 2020

Chill Factore, Manchester – £27 for 1-hour adult lift pass

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead – £39 for 1-hour adult lift pass (peak)

Snowdome, Tamworth - £28 for 1-hour adult lift pass

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