Scotland is an outdoor enthusiasts dream location; in the warmer months (well warm by Scottish standards) you have the vast landscapes to explore; hillwalking, mountain biking, kayaking – I could go on. But when it gets a little bit colder, thanks to its 5 snowsport resorts, it’s a skier or snowboarder’s dream. With the winter Olympics coming up in a months time, it’s the perfect time to shake the dust off your skis and head to the mountains. Here’s a list of the best places to go to get your snow fix.
In winter, the Cairngorms are a snowy paradise. As long as the conditions are good there is plenty to keep yourself busy with thanks to the wide selection of runs open, the White Lady being the most well known of them all. Some runs however can be very challenging, if you can get yourself from top to bottom here there won’t be any run that you can’t do. You’ll leave with a sense of achievement and probably an aching body the next day. A student day pass comes in at £28.50.
The only downside is that it does take a while to get to if you are coming from Glasgow but that just gives more of an excuse to make a weekend of it. Aviemore is the closest town and offers transport to and from the mountain on a regular basis. If you are on a budget there is no need to spend a fortune on accommodation; there are a few hostels in the main part of town that is perfect for those not wanting to break the bank. If that doesn’t convince you then Aviemore’s infamous club “The Vault” is reason enough to make the trip. Who cares about the skiing, it’s an experience all in its own.
Not only is it a relatively short drive from Glasgow but also it is also home to the longest and steepest run in Scotland and boasts stunning views that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else, it is an instagram king/queen’s dream. For a midweek day pass it’s £20 with your student card and £25 for a weekend day pass – you can’t complain when you consider the cost of flights to the Alps. A guaranteed great day of snow filled fun and an instagram that will for sure get more than 11 likes.
If you fancy making a weekend of it the resort is close to Fort William but if you want to be even closer to the snow Glencoe has its very own microlodges or “Hobbit Huts” that can be rented next to the car park. I’d recommend doing it well in advance, as they are very popular when the season starts.
Glenshee is a bit more of a trek; located in the Cairngorms National Park region it is closer to Inverness than it is to Glasgow. But it takes the crown of the largest resort in the UK and offers 36 pisted runs, which will suit a whole range of abilities, so you could say that it is worth the trip. Like Glencoe it is great value for money starting at £20 for a day pass. The longest run in the resort is the Glas Maol, which gives you 2km of snow to have fun on. Another benefit of Glenshee is that it is open for longer during the season thanks to the snow making facilities on site.
This one truly does have something for everyone, with a whole area dedicated to beginners and a great selection of reds and blacks the further up the mountain you go. You might think that you’re pretty nifty on the snow but the off-piste area of the Black Corries will be sure to push you to your limit and show exactly what you are made of! Like other resorts there are also alternatives to skiing or snowboarding, if you want a break you can try your hand at sledging or snowshoeing. A bit more expensive for a student day pass, coming in at £27 but with all that it has to offer, it’s not a bad deal.
Snow Factor, Breahead
If you really can’t be bothered to make the journey outside of Glasgow you’re in luck because Glasgow has its very own indoor slope just a short bus journey away. Not only is the slope covered in real snow but it is also the longest indoor slope in the UK. There’s no need to panic if your skills are a bit rusty because there loads of lesson options, starting from beginners right up to freestyle. But if you’re looking for an alternative to skiing or snowboarding, Snow Factor also has an ice climbing wall with instructors on hand as well as the option to let your inner child loose and go sledging. Starting from £10 for a student 2-hour lift pass including equipment hire, it’s definitely friendly on your bank balance. Finally the most important thing, if you fancy a bit of Après, Bar Varia is located right next to the slope so a cold pint is only a few steps away. What more could you want?
By Caitlin Young