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Scotland may be known for its romantic landscapes and fascinating heritage, but it offers some serious thrills for the adventurous. Home to a number of Britain's highest mountains, and - let's be honest - some of its coldest weather for much of the year, it provides the perfect spot for the ski holiday of a lifetime. You won't find Alpine villages twinkling against sparkling snow, but you will find a warm welcome in the historic towns of the north. Nor will you find the high-altitude resorts of the Alps, but you'll still enjoy panoramic vistas from an elevation of 500 metres. Combine this with a range of fantastic attractions and off-slope activities, and Scotland's a great alternative to the rest of Europe when looking for a spectacular ski break.
But where to start? Well, it's no rarity to hear reported that the Cairngorms have five feet of snow during winter: they're the largest area of Arctic mountain landscape in the UK, after all. And as for the Nevis Range, it's the newest and highest ski area in Scotland. There are so many places to choose from, and they're just a few hours drive from one another, so you can really make the most of every skiable area in Scotland. Here at HomeAway, we have hundreds of Scottish ski chalets and apartments, offering great value for money as well as space and privacy. Whether you want a rural retreat in the Scottish wilderness, or a central apartment in Aviemore, look no further than HomeAway Holiday Rentals.
Top ski destinations in Scotland 2014
Aviemore & the Cairngorms
Aviemore's the perfect base when you want to explore the Cairngorms, a mountain range just ten miles east of this lively, pretty village. Not only are you offered convenient access to a range of runs, but Aviemore offers plenty of off-slope activities, in a bid to counter the unpredictable weather. If the snow conditions are good, take your pick of 23 pistes served by 12 ski lifts, the majority of which are green, blue and red, with just two black runs for experts. You'll enjoy breathtaking views from the most challenging run, the West Black, which can be found at Coire na Ciste. If the snow doesn't deliver however, don't worry: excellent après ski awaits.
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Fort William is the ideal base when you want to navigate the Nevis Range, Aonach Mor in Gaelic, Scotland's newest ski area. Located next to the country's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, the area also boasts the UK's only quad chair and six-person gondola. But any association with Alpine villages ends with the excellent facilities: the panoramic views over heather-clad slopes are unquestionably, quintessentially Scottish! Traverse 20 kilometres of skiable area, replete with 35 pistes and 12 modern lifts, offering something for every type of skier. A fifth caters to beginners, a third to intermediates, and there are five formidable black runs.
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Known as the Scottish equivalent to Les Trois Vallees, the Glenshee Ski Centre offers more lifts and pistes than any other in Britain. Indeed, there are 40 kilometres of skiable terrain, 36 marked pistes and 21 lifts, so you certainly won't run out of slopes to explore. What's more, the centre is just a short drive from the likes of Ballater and Braemar, so it's well within easy reach of our Aberdeen holiday rentals. The centre is also equipped with six snow cannons, so it can combat unpredictable weather, and encompasses four mountains, three valleys and an equal number of green, blue and red runs: Glenshee is, undoubtedly, Scotland's richest ski area.
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Glencoe was Scotland's original ski centre, and is considered one of its best today. Of its 17 individual pistes served by 9 ski lifts, the resort is probably best known for its world-class vertical run, located at the south end of the valley. The Plateau lift provides convenient access to one of Scotland's best nursery areas for beginners, while the Cliffhanger chair can take those with practice to Mugs Alley, a wide expanse of green terrain where you can perfect your technique. Blue, red and black runs can all be found after reaching the Main Basin, but the Rannoch Glades, Spring Run and hilariously-named Haggis Trap are particularly popular!
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Nethy Bridge is a pretty village nestled on the periphery of Abernethy Forest, a beautiful woodland which belongs to the Cairngorms National Park. A picturesque place where wildlife thrives, it's the ideal base when spending a few days skiing, specifically on the slopes of The Lecht. As Scotland's smallest ski resort, with just 20 individual pistes, The Lecht's often overlooked in favour of Glencoe and Glenshee; yet as well as boasting snowmaking facilities and a sheltered location away from strong winds, it has a great range of bird-named runs! Try blue runs like Osprey, red runs like Buzzard or the exhilarating black run, Harrier.
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