It looks like Covid-19 is ruining ski holiday plans all over the UK. But all might not be lost. The solution may lie in your own backyard: Scotland. We’re sure that you probably already thought about Skiing in the UK, but didn’t want to give up on the dream chalet in the Alps. We think however that you might be pleasantly surprised at what the highlands have to offer. Continue reading on to see what we’re on about.
If skiing in Scotland is not the first thing that comes to your mind thinking about a ski holiday, you’re not alone. When the Ski Club’s consumer research panel asked UK skiers what their ski holiday destinations were, Scotland wasn’t anywhere on that list.
In fact, skiing in the UK wasn’t on their minds at all. It’s the Alps, the Pyrenees, not Cairngorm, Glencoe or Nevis. This year however, 2020, is all about rolling with the punches and taking what you can get. UK skiers might be very pleasantly surprised to find what they can get out of not leaving their shores and skiing in the UK this season.
Where to ski in Scotland?
Scotland, still part of the UK, has easily the best natural snow on the British Isles and has a total of 5 ski resorts for you to try out. 3 are located around Cairngorms National Park, which is nestled in the center of Scotland: Cairngorm Mountain Ski Resort, Glenshee Ski Centre and Lecht 2090. The other two are situated on the west coast: Nevis Range mountain Resort, near Fort William, and Glencoe Mountain Resort near, well, Glencoe. We’ve done all the hard work for you and cover all the resorts, gone through where you can eat, where you can stay, what else you can do, and how you’re supposed to get there.
The first in a series about Scottish Ski Resorts starts here:
- Cairngorm Mountain Ski Resort
- Glenshee Ski Centre
- The Lecht 2090
- Glencoe Ski Centre
- Nevis Mountain Range
There is some general information about skiing in Scotland that can be useful to know just below.
General info about skiing in Scotland
- The ski season in Scotland: Although all of these parks open in December, it’s worth noting that it’s only until around mid-January and then the later months of the season that decent snowfall properly covers all the runs.
- Travel: You really do need to travel by car. Especially between the resort and where you’re staying. It’s also well recommended to use winter tires on your car. So invest, you don’t want to get stuck going up the mountain.
- Accommodation: a reduced occupancy discount is common among most cottage rentals. So be sure to inquire if you’re not such a big group for the size of the place. This is probably going to be common this year with the limit of persons likely to be 6.
We’ve trawled through the official government website and pulled out the most relevant pieces of information for anyone looking to go skiing in Scotland. Although, at present the rules are quite strict, they are expected to change by the time christmas comes.
So far, the official line from the government is:
If you have booked a holiday during this period then you can still go – but you should only travel with and stay with people from your own or extended household group.
But the rules are changing constantly. That means that all of the information here, while valid, may be subject to some changes. Each local authority is implementing their own level of restrictions. The best thing to do is to check on a local government website what kinds of limitations are in place the week before you go.
Scottish Covid rules are the strictest in the UK
Scotland has some of the strictest rules regarding movement and tourism in the UK at the moment, most of which are being applied in the Scottish central belt area. It should be noted that none of the ski resorts mentioned reside in the Scottish central belt.
The following is relevant list of rules related to Scottish Ski resorts, taken from the local government website. Again, these rules are very likely to change by the time January and the new year roll in. But just so that you are aware of some of the differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
All sport facilities are now permitted to open subject to Scottish Government guidance on indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities being followed.
Outdoor play parks and equipment
Outdoor play parks and outdoor gym equipment can open, but strict physical distancing should be followed.
Public and customer toilets
Public and customer toilets can be opened as long as it is safe to do so. Where toilets are part of a larger premises e.g. a shop, face coverings must be worn.
Eating and drinking out
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open outdoor and indoor seating areas at certain times of the day.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars serving food or drink for consumption indoors on the premises may serve food and drink indoors only between 6 am and 6 pm. No alcohol may be served for consumption indoors.
Restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes must close at 6pm unless providing food or drink for outdoor consumption, in which case they must close at 10pm.
Apres-ski is an outdoor event
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars serving food or drink for consumption outdoors on the premises may open serve food and drink outdoors between 6 am and 10 pm.
Licensed premises may sell alcohol for consumption outdoors only, and can do so until 10pm, provided this is in line with local licensing rules.
Hotels are the exception
Hotels and other accommodation providers serving food to guests staying in their premises. They can serve food and drink for consumption in or outdoors. Alcohol may only be served as part of room service.