Off piste in Scotland
Off-Piste Guided Skiing in Scotland
Scotland may not be the first place you think of when planning a skiing trip; France, Italy or Switzerland are perhaps more likely to spring to mind. However, there are a surprising number of opportunities to get on your skis or snowboard. Off-piste guided skiing in Scotland is gaining in popularity.
Although many skiers will tell you that they’ve had the best ever days spent in the Scottish mountains, skiing has been unable to take off properly because of the changeable weather. This makes booking and planning skiing holidays an absolute nightmare.
As soon as you even hear rumour of a fresh snowfall, get yourself up to the Highlands in a jiffy. Don’t waste valuable slope time booking accommodation or transport and all that malarkey, just jump in a Rockin’ van and head straight up to the mountains.
Skiing in Scotland is incredible if you manage to time it right. At one end of the spectrum you need to avoid the gale force winds and torrential rain that can ruin the snow and at the other, the tourists, as during peak season Scottish ski resorts can be manic.
With this in mind, you might want to head off-piste. You’ll be lucky to catch a few full days of skiing up in Scotland so the relatively limited areas won’t really have too much of an impact.
If you're not experienced in skiing in the back-country, make sure you only ever embark upon off-piste guided skiing in Scotland with a guide as the mountains are notorious for their treacherous terrain. It’s incredibly easy to get caught out without the correct equipment or knowledge.
Things to consider
Going off piste in scotland
Places to ski
There are plenty of tough off-piste routes around the Glencoe resort, with a couple of popular ones being Baillies gully and East Ride. In all honestly, even the main ski resort at Glencoe is quite rugged with many of the pistes being left ‘au naturel’, so if you don’t want to venture into the back-country, you’ll probably find something suitable at the resort.
If you can’t be too flexible, you’re best heading up to Cairngorm as this area of Scotland is the most likely to have snow. That said, it can get incredibly crowded up on the slopes, so the Cairngorm backcountry just outside the resort is a good idea. Try heading to Mclarens gully, the high Cairngorm plateau, Coire Domhain, Coire Raibert and Ben Macdui.
The smallest of Scotland’s ski resorts probably gets the worst snow coverage, so there is little off-piste skiing worth mentioning. However, the resort itself has a few challenging forests and high altitude terrain, but you’ll want to move on in a day or two.
Scotland’s largest ski resort, Glenshee, has a number of excellent ski tours on the outskirts. Whether you want a whole day of off-piste skiing, or just a couple of hours, there are good routes for everyone. Your guide should be able to direct you to the best snow, but a few suggestions would be Carn an-t Sagairt Mor and Glas Moal.
When the weather is just right, Nevis Range has some of the best off-piste guided skiing in Scotland. There are plenty of off-piste runs in the back corries and many will claim that these offer some of the best experiences in the world. A number of these runs are actually marked on the Aonach Mor Piste map, alternatively head to the Easy Gully.
Private skiing guides
The Old Police House
Unit 3, Plot 10
Dalfaber Industrial Estate
Cairngorms National Park
01397 705 825