Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights From £935
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The high massif of the Cairngorms is the ideal venue for ski touring. The region claims ﬁve of the six highest mountains in the UK and the most reliable venue for snow in the country. In the company of our mountain and ski instructors, learn the essential skills to explore Scotland’s mountains in winter on skis. Journeying through the backcountry of the Cairngorms you will develop your off-piste ski technique, ski touring skills, avalanche awareness and mountain safety.
Off the mountain stay in a small hotel or guesthouse in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park which provides the ideal retreat after a hard day in the hills – kick back and enjoy a Speyside malt by the open ﬁre and a tasty meal made with fresh local produce.
Please note that the itinerary described below is intended as a guide only and will be wholly flexible based on our in-depth local knowledge of the prevailing snow and weather conditions. If ski touring is not possible then other activities are on offer.
This price is based on a group of 4, prices will vary depending on group size. Please get in touch with the team to confirm the trip price for your group
Many of us at Wilderness Scotland grew up skiing in the Highlands and have since been lucky enough also to ski around the world, working ski seasons in places such as France, Canada and New Zealand.
Put simply, we wouldn’t compare skiing and snowboarding in Scotland with the Alps or North America. New Zealand and Norway perhaps, but certainly not the famous ski resorts of France, Switzerland or Canada.
Scotland offers a different experience and while the quality of the snow and skiing may be temporary, the wild magnificence of the Highlands in winter is permanent. To make the most of skiing here, you need to combine opportunism with knowledge. On any given day, conditions across the country in terms of snow cover, snow quality and weather can vary enormously. Having the insider knowledge and experience of where to ski both on an off-piste will make a huge difference to the quantity and quality of skiing you will get done.
In terms of off-piste and touring terrain, we would argue this is where Scotland comes into its own. Away from the crowds, solitude and escape are guaranteed. While good seasons come and go, a committed ski tourer will typically rack up 20-30 quality days a year. If you’re prepared to be flexible and go with the conditions you can expect some memorable ski experiences through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe.
The weather in a Scottish winter is unpredictable and while the weather can sometimes be challenging there are many days of blue skies and sunshine which provide perfect overhead conditions for winter activities. In less ideal weather, having good clothing and equipment makes a huge difference and means that you can still enjoy yourself – the conditions simply become part of the experience rather than dominating it.
If the conditions mean skiing is not possible then you’ll spend the day in the mountains working on navigation and safety skills. Or you may want to take a break from the outdoors and enjoy a mini sight seeing tour visiting some historic sites, and maybe even a distillery for a wee nip. However, if the conditions are good you can honestly have some of your best days ever on skis.
As with much of Europe, snow reliability has changed a lot over the years and conditions in Scotland often change rapidly. The quality of skiing (for better or worse) can change overnight here perhaps more than anywhere else in the world. That all being said, if good snow depths and a base have formed by mid to late January then there is typically skiing on offer for the remainder of the season, through to mid-April. During February Scotland often enjoys one to two weeks of very stable weather with little wind and blue skies. The spring months of March and April are often the best of all especially for touring, offering extensive snow cover, forgiving spring-snow and long sunny days.
In the event skiing isn’t possible on any given day, your guide will be creative in ensuring you get the most out of this trip. That may mean more of a focus on technique e.g. avalanche awareness and companion rescue or even suggesting a non-snow activity for the day such as mountain biking.
Whatever the season or conditions, our guides are committed to providing you with the best mountain experience of the Highlands and a trip to remember.
Knowing where the best conditions are and how to make the most of your day, is essential to enjoying the Scottish ski experience. Each day your guide will, in consultation with you, determine the best place to ski taking care of any necessary details and logistics not just on the mountain but both before and after your day. In addition to guiding and instruction on the mountain, this will also include arranging all the necessary equipment and transport in what can sometimes be challenging driving conditions.
Our winter ski guides are typically both mountain leaders and ski instructors having built a huge depth of experience both in Scotland and around the world. This means you get the best of both worlds – coaching and advice on how to improve your skiing along with instruction on how to travel safely through Scotland’s mountains in winter.
In the event of weather not allowing you to ski, your guide will be there to organise alternative activities throughout the Highlands. Options include guided mountain biking or low-level hiking with an emphasis on navigation. If the weather is really bad and you want to bail completely then your guide will even be game for organising a mini sightseeing tour of the Highlands or a tour of the local distilleries and/or micro-breweries.
The arrival point is flexible but typically we will meet you in Inverness or Aviemore. Your arrival time on Day 1 will determine what activity will be possible. Ideally, we will meet you, get kitted out with any pre-ordered hire equipment and then head to the mountains for an afternoon ski. In the company of your guide, this provides an opportunity to find your ski legs and ensure all of the hire equipment is working well. Before dinner, your guide will give an introductory brieﬁng about the trip ahead.
Following a relaxed breakfast and start of the day briefing, we head to the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms for an introduction to ski touring. We spend most of the day focusing on off-piste ski technique before ﬁxing our skins and climbing on skis to the highpoint today. Traversing to the summit of Cairn Gorm, our descent takes us onto the plateau overlooking the spectacular Loch Avon. During the afternoon we spend some time exploring navigation techniques before returning via one of the classic off piste routes back to our start point. (B, L)
This morning we’ll head a short distance from our accommodation and start skinning through the forest in Glen Feshie. We climb up onto the Moine Mhor (The Great Moss) pausing en route to discuss avalanche awareness and companion rescue. Our summit objective is Sgor Gaoith, spectacularly perched above the cliffs of Loch Einich. From the top there are a choice of routes varying in steepness. In good conditions it’s possible to ski virtually the entire way back to the valley, cruising through pine forest in the lower reaches to join the road. (B, L)
Should conditions allow, we will make an early start and head west to Nevis Range to sample some of Scotland’s best and most exciting backcountry descents. Depending upon your preference, there are off-piste routes ranging from easy to access to more remote adventures where the only tracks will be your own. With the snow gods on our side, this is as good as it gets with awesome terrain and spectacular scenery. (B, L)
Again, going with the conditions, we will decide where to ski, ideally gearing up for a longer ski tour perhaps in the Northern Cairngorms or a little further south in the Drumochter Hills where the high road makes for easy access to the snow. Depending upon your departure time and location, we will aim to return to Aviemore late afternoon for onward travel. (B, L)
Accommodation for this trip is typically in a small hotel or guesthouse in the Aviemore area. This offers immediate access to the mountains of the Northern Cairngorms along with easy access to Glen Feshie, the Monadh Liath and Creag Meagaidh in the west. A warm welcome is assured, and you can choose to spend the evenings in the lounge next to the wood burning stove or exploring the local pubs in the village.
Breakfasts and lunch are included each day.
If you would like to extend your trip, either to enjoy more days with your guide, add on some more ski instruction, experience different winter activities or maybe even a day or two recovery at a Highland spa, then get in touch with the team to discuss the options. Upgraded accommodation is also available.
At Your Own Pace – Self Guided Holidays
Our ‘At Your Own Pace’ trips are all suitable for anyone to enjoy, regardless of fitness level. Journey at your own pace, stopping as often as you like to soak up the magnificent scenery of the Scottish Highlands.
You have the flexibility to choose how you spend each day and can choose from the many walking routes described in the information pack. There are also many non-walking activities featured in the pack that are suitable for all fitness levels.
Further information for specific trips can be found in the relevant Trip Dossier. If you are in any doubt at all regarding your suitability for a trip, please contact us and we will be glad to talk about the trip in detail and provide you with a recommendation.