Ski Cairngorm Mountain Resort

Cairngorm Mountain Resort, based on ticket sales alone, is considered to be Scotland’s favourite ski resort. Its altitude extends above the rest of the resorts on our list, with its highest point reaching around 1,230 meters (4,035ft).  This altitude typically affords the resort with decent snowfall.

They have just over 30km of skiable terrain, and run a total of 10 ski lifts to take you to the top. The makeup of the runs is: 3 black, 10 red, 10 blue and 10 green. So as you can see that’s quite a bit for everybody. They have a snowfactory at the base which ensures beginners have something to practice on. The resort also has a freestyle park for snowboarders. First-timers to the park can find a list of handy tips here.


A typical day pass for an adult costs £27 while a junior will cost £17.

Cairngorm Piste Map – ©Cairngorm

What to eat in Cairngorm ski resort?

At Cairngorm mountain resort, on-site, you’ll find two places: at the base The Cairngorm Cafe and on the peak the Ptarmigan Restaurant. The Cairngorm Cafe offers guests tea and coffee with an array of home-made dishes, daily specials and of course, cakes. What Cairngorm’s mountain resort might lack in variety though, it makes up for with its views. The Cairngorm Cafe sits at just over 2,000 ft and has a perfect view over Loch Morlich.

Due to the shutdown of the funicular transport, the Ptarmigan Restaurant has also been closed for the moment. Though its head of technical operations has confirmed with us that as soon as snow cover permits the Ptarmigan Restaurant will open again. However due to all of the Covid restrictions the Ptarmigan Restaurant’s offering will be more limited with just tea, coffee, cold drinks and snacks.

The famous Cairngorm funicular transport is still out of service. Although funding has been allocated to Cairngorm mountain, its repair could take some time yet. So, don’t expect it to be running this season.

If you’re worried about where you’re going to enjoy that apres-ski in Cairngorm, don’t, Aviemore town is only 12 miles away. Aviemore has a massive selection of restaurants and bars, most with great food. Plenty of local produce fit into Scottish dishes. Hearty food to warm you up.

Where to Stay in Cairngorm?

As just mentioned, Aviemore is the closest town and has plenty of lodging options. Private lodges, cottages, cabins, Bed and breakfasts, a 4-star hotel, the list goes on. Prices can vary widely depending on what you’re looking for though.

We’ve put together some examples:

  • Hill view cottage, sleeping 6, will set you back £720 for 7 nights at the end of January.
  • Around the same time Beaver Creek lodge cabin, with a sauna, hot tub, BBQ, with space for up to 8 will cost you £2889.
  • At the Macdonal Morlich 4-star hotel, a room for two can cost between £102 – £235 per night, but with breakfast included. This works out at somewhere between £612 – £1410 for a seven day stay.

Aviemore’s tourist site has a huge amount of links here. You will definitely find something you like and close by to the Cairngorm ski resort.


They’ve got AirBnb too though. A quick search proved that there’s a lot to choose from here. A mixed bag, you can pay as little as £70 per night for an apartment or up to £264 for an enormous house with all the works. That works out at around £417 – £1581 per week. It’s all about your budget and how many of you there are. Something for everyone really.

What else is there to do in Cairngorm?

Again, Aviemore. It’s just 12 miles away. This town could be why skiing in Cairngorm, even though smaller than say Glenshee, is more popular in Scotland. It is jam packed with Cafes, Pubs and Restaurants. Expect to try fresh local produce at their restaurants and plenty of home-cooked food in its cafes.

It also has a good deal of shopping for a town of that size, and even has a Gin Distillery nearby. For an apres-ski a little different, at Kinrara Craft Gin distillery you can explore their farm and get a tour of the grounds for £20. But, if you’re more of a whisky person, the Glenlivet distillery is only a 47 minute drive away. They offer an hour long tasting for £30, although with so many Covid restrictions you will have to make sure that it is running before making the drive.

Cairngorm -Ptarmigan - snow - ©Tim Winterburn
Cairngorm -Ptarmigan – ©Tim Winterburn

How to get to Cairngorm Mountain Ski Resort?

By car! It’s not the only way, but maybe what makes most sense.

The drive is only about another 40 minutes difference from Glenshee. That means that from the major cities, you have London 10 hours, Birmingham 8 hours, Manchester 7 and half hours, and Leeds 6 and a half hours.

If you really don’t want to drive you can take the train. Scotrail offer a local service that goes to Aviemore town. From Edinburgh that takes around 3 hours, with Glasgow being more or less the same. From Dundee 2hours, and from Aberdeen 4 hours. There is a bus that runs from Aviemore town to Cairngorm Mountain resort, so that’s useful if you don’t feel like driving every day, although with Covid restrictions it might be best to stick with the car.

If you have your heart set on flying there are flights from major cities to Inverness, which is just 30,7 miles away from Aviemore. So it’s possible to fly there and rent a car. However, flights to Inverness are harder to come by than say to Glasgow or Edinburgh. If you plan to rent a car, it would probably be easier to go there first.

Need more information?

For more information and to contact Cairngorm Mountain directly follow this link.

Before you to Cairngorm Mountain Ski Centre

Check out our article about Skiing in Scotland and Covid restrictions.