Words by

Ed Leigh

The Scottish Highlands credibility as a viable Snowsports destination have long been ridiculed by the UK’s southern residents. A lack of altitude, infrastructure and reliable snow are the core reasons that most people will cite when poo poo’ing the idea of heading North over booking their traditional week in one of France’s many super resort tourist traps. And in their defence if you want a week of site skiing on blue runs with the kids then that’s almost certainly the right choice… 

But if on the other hand you’re looking for a less conventional adventure then Scotland is well worth considering.

A rich history and culture, wonderfully hospitable and wildly funny people and the world’s best whiskey are a few good reasons, but one of the most important is that you can do it on any budget. There are lots of brilliant budget options to match the high end offerings.

Another factor for those with backcountry on their mind is the right to roam act. Passed in 2003 as part of the Land Reform Act, it is one of the key reasons Scotland is so inviting. The act means that a persons freedom to explore their environment is balanced with respect for private property and gives the public access to most land and inland water. From this you can surmise that the backcountry is open, there are no boundaries, save for your sense of adventure and the weather…

Scotland is a jagged mass of weathered granite that is surrounded on almost all sides by the frigid and oft spiteful Irish and North Seas. The vicious storms these waters can deliver to the Highlands are to be respected as they move at pace, but the snow they deliver can rival anything you’ll find in the Alps on its day. And that is the key to understanding and then planning adventures in Alba. 

You don’t book to go for a resort for a week, instead be flexible, the chances are that good conditions will only last for 3 to 4 days at the most, so if you live in the UK plan a surgical strike over a long weekend, if you’re coming from further afield or have more time book a week or 10 days and explore Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee, mountain bike Fort William, skate Livi or Unit 23, surf Thurso, visit Nessie or use a T shirt cannon to shoot bags of dog shit onto Trumps gold course. Scotland is a truly glorious place, you don’t need to think of it purely in terms of the mountains, to make the most out of any visit you must broaden your horizons.

So check out the resources on the site, you’ll find all the best shops, guides, and everything else you’ll need to make the most of your trip around each of the five major resorts; Cairngorm, Nevis Range, Glenshee, Glencoe and the Lecht. 


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