Money Matters Team

Snowsports in Scotland

By Money Matters Team 23/12/2014

Besides stunning views of snow-covered peaks, glens and lochs, Scotland's five ski centres offer the best pistes in the UK.

Where to go

The five ski centres - Nevis, Cairngorm, Glencoe, Glenshee and The Lecht - are located in the Grampian Mountains in the Scottish Highlands.

Nevis Range

The Nevis Range is located on the mountain of Aonach Mor, only two peaks away from Ben Nevis, and boasts the only mountain gondola in Britain, reaching 650m across the slopes.


Located only 9 miles from the scenic town of Aviemore in the heart of the Scottish Highlands it is easily accessible by car, train or bus networks.


Home to both the longest and steepest runs in Scotland, Glencoe offers great skiing and amazing views, including the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor.


Glenshee - derived from its original Gaelic name meaning ‘glen of the fairies,’ promises the longest total length of pistes at around 36km.

The Lecht

The most easterly of the centres, The Lecht is situated at the top of the pass between Tomintoul and Strathdon in Scotland’s largest National Park.

Driving times

Edinburgh Glasgow Inverness Aberdeen
Nevis range 3 h 2 h 45 min 1 h 30 min 3 h 30 min
Cairngorm 2 h 30 min 2 h 45 min 1 h 2 h 15 min
Glencoe 2 h 15 min 1 h 45 min 2 h 15 min 3 h 15 min
Glenshee 2 h 2 h 2 h 1 h 30 min
The Lecht 2 h 30 min 2 h 45 min 1 15 min 1 h 30 min

All travel times given are approximate and extra care should always be taken when driving in winter conditions.

Public Transport

Local rail/bus links:

Town Distance (miles)
Nevis range Fort William 7
Cairngorm Aviemore 9
Glencoe For William 26
Glenshee Pitlochry 30
The Lecht Aviemore 34

If you’re travelling from further afield, Scotland’s main airports are situated in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. There are also many regional airports throughout the country. See the full list here.

Get kitted out

Hiring equipment

For beginners and those who only take to the snow occasionally, the obvious choice is to hire equipment. All of the centres can provide everything you need to get on the slopes; snowboard or skis, poles and helmets etc.

You can find daily hire prices on our Snowsports in Scotland infographic, or check the centre’s individual websites for multi-day rates.

Buying equipment

If you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the slopes then you may want to consider investing in your own equipment. Although more expensive up front, it can work out cheaper than hiring over time.

When it comes to paying for your equipment, you’ll be faced with further choices. Due to the relatively high costs, many suppliers of snow sports equipment offer finance. Paying by credit card could offer you extra protection on your purchases. See our credit card guide for full details of your rights.

Remember to factor in transportation costs when you’re considering the pros and cons of buying, especially if you need to fly as most airlines may charge extra for snowboards and skis.

Before you go

Given Scotland’s unpredictable weather, it’s best to check the snow conditions before you leave. You can check the ski centre’s individual websites for live updates. VisitScotland also provides regularly updated reports for all of the centres on snow conditions, lift status and weather offer road travel updates if you’re driving, or check with for trains and for bus routes.

Still not convinced?

If you’re not ready to get out on the real slopes yet, why not check one of over 10 dry ski slopes that Scotland offer? If you fancy a bit of real snow indoors, the Snow Factor in Glasgow provides real snow all year round, whatever the weather.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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