Why some UK skiers are heading to the Cairngorms for skiing

So the Cairn Gorm certainly is not Mont Blanc. But it deserves to be respected for its unique beauty and non-mainstream appeal. It’s funny that a season spent in Scotland skiing isn’t more well-known as it makes for a more authentic, environmentally-friendlier ski learning experience than sliding up and down a large fridge. The UK – often completely unknown to, and unwanted by UK skiers and snowboarders – has a petite number of its own natural ski destinations; the most stunning and snowsure of these being in Scotland. And in particular to the powder hounds who are ‘staying home’ – heading to the Cairngorms skiing will be your safest bet for fresh and long-lasting snow.

Why are some UK skiers choosing the Cairngorms?

The Coronavirus epidemic in 2020 has had a huge role to play in UK skiers choosing the Cairngorms for skiing as flight bans and travel bans were put in place.

Nonetheless, they probably deserve more credit than that. A huge, undulating Celtic landscape of protected natural beauty, filled with wildlife and completely untouched forests, meadows and valleys topped by the Cairn Gorm mountain – the Cairngorms are a must-see and do for any skier, at least once. The Cairngorms have the most reliable snow out of all the peaks in Scotland, which normally lasts into the late season. The best way to stay up to speed with the snow is to sign up to the Scotland snow alerts from the official Visit Scotland site.

Other field notes for Cairngorms Skiing

For skiers heading up the actual mountain peak itself, the Cairn Gorm, having Nordic ski skills will be immensely helpful for more of the daring runs, where it is likely you will need to go off-piste onto the peaks, across unmarked territory and where there simply won’t be any working lifts – at least for a few years while the £20 million funicular repair work gets underway. In the meantime, some little pistes to enjoy:


Get in the mood for Cairngorms skiing

It’s a different type of anticipation, that’s for sure – but the Cairngorms have a habit of surprising people for the size and majesty of the area, both in the traditional Scottish wintertime and throughout the rest of the year – making it hugely popular with those looking to take hiking trips. One way of getting in the mood for skiing in the Cairngorms might be thinking about the landscape and its wildlife. And as for a subject matter that is incredibly unique and specific to the Cairngorms, check out The Tigers of Scotland by UK natural history producer Wild Films. It’s documentary about the endangered Scottish Wildcat species narrated by Iain Glen (Games of Thrones) – it has snow-covered cats, sure – but also you can also expect lots and lots of footage of the peaks, and all the fresh powdery snow as it settles throughout Cairngorms National Park in the winter:


The Cairngorms are popular for skiing locally with Scottish skiers at Christmas and during the holidays, so it means there can be some big queues for a relatively small area. So it pays to get in early and book your lift passes ahead in the Cairngorms for sure. Or if you’re looking for other locations in Scotland for skiing, check out the mini guide.


Regular, experienced UK family skiers aged 26 – 40? You’re likely to pick the Cairngorms these days

Whole-family ski classes are abundant and popular in Scotland, which means new and young UK families from further afield are continuing to opt for Scotland skiing and a ‘staycation’, particularly if they are choosing to avoid flying with small children – this might sound familiar to you. Certainly, this global tourism meta trend: i.e. new families around the world, according to Skift, are far more likely to book a cruise than they are to fly for a short-haul all-inclusive (and to this point, the biggest data clusters in the actual research were only for cruises, resulting in so little flight data, that it ended up being removed from the original survey!) coupled with the eco-friendly staycation preference and Covid fears – all this is helping drive a steady rush of ski tourism into the Cairngorms again. So the big question is, will you be trying Scotland as family skiers, or sticking with your:

Tried and trusted Ski-Lifts destinations such as

  • Morzine
  • Avoriaz
  • Les 2 Alpes
  • Sestriere
  • Verbier
  • Le Clusaz
  • Garmisch
  • Whistler
  • Champoussin

Where are you planning to go skiing this time? Let us know on Ski-Lifts’ social media channels, we can’t wait to hear from you!