Top spots to learn to ski in the UK

Days out, Activity

Believe it or not, you don’t have to hop on a flight to find slopes where you can learn to ski. In fact, here in the UK there are loads of ski and snowboard centres which in winter offer ski runs suitable for all abilities and provide lessons for those looking to learn to ski in the UK.

Skiing in Scotland

Scotland is the most popular UK country for stay-cation skiers; with guaranteed snowy mountains during the winter, you’ll be sure to find the resorts swathed in the white stuff. The ski season in Scotland runs from December to early April but this can vary depending on the amount of snowfall.

Cairngorm Mountain

Cairngorm Mountain

One of the most popular ski resorts in Scotland, Cairngorm Mountain offers often challenging but beautiful slopes, and is also home to Scotland’s only funicular railway. The resort also has its own Snow School, to provide complete beginners with the opportunity to take to the slopes. If you fancy yourself as a pro, there are also classes to take your skills to the next level! If you’re visiting as a family, group bookings are available or if you prefer the one-on-one approach, private sessions can be arranged. Children’s classes are also available for those aged between 5-7, in a safe environment with experienced instructors.

When to visit? Due to its central location, Cairngorm Mountain often sees both early and late season snow.

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Glenshee Ski and Snowboard

With 22 lifts and 36 runs, Glenshee is Scotland’s largest ski resort. This means that there is plenty to appeal to all types of skiers or snowboarders, whether it’s your first time on the snow or if you’re hurtling down mountains every winter! If there’s a big group of you, family or friends, you can hire an instructor who will be dedicated to keeping your group upright on their boards or skis. You can also join a class, try out race training or enjoy a leisurely glide down the mountain as a private group. The Base Café is a great lunch stop while Meall Odhar mountain café is a good place to meet if you’re all off trying different runs or classes.

When to visit? Further east, you’ll often get early snow in October and November but it’s best to leave it until peak snow season just to be sure.

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Snow on Ben Nevis

The Nevis Range

If you’ve never skied, snowboarded, or climbed a mountain before, then it’s the views that will probably take your breath away long before you’re hurtling down a slope. While all of Scotland’s ski centres provide panoramic views, the Nevis Range is where you’ll reach your highest points. It is home to Britain’s only mountain gondola, which can transport you 650m up Aonach Mor in 12 minutes. There are all kinds of classes and activities to get involved with on the Nevis Range, whatever your ability, starting with beginner slopes and first-time classes for individuals or groups right through to slightly alternative classes for the more experienced rider. These consist of free ride clinics to tackle techniques for steep slopes and Back Corrie Workshops, which give users of the black slopes a greater understanding of using these ‘back country’ areas.

When to visit? Here there is a higher chance of late snow which has been known to fall as late as May.

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Glencoe Mountain Resort

Another of Scotland’s snow sport resorts and again, Glencoe offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all abilities. On Saturdays a special session called ‘Saturday Shredders’ is held for children over seven to have a go on the slopes. If you book in advance, you can take advantage of a special rate megadeal which includes beginner lift ticket, ski hire and a group lesson. There are 20 runs and 8 lifts on offer, and a lodge café is found at the bottom of the chairlift so a hot drink and some food is never far away.

When to visit? Glencoe often sees really good late season snow, sometimes into May!

The Glencoe mountains

The Lecht

Last but definitely not least, The Lecht is one of Scotland’s very best resorts accessed by some of the most picturesque roads in the whole of Scotland. If you’re on holiday in Scotland with children, then it’s worth remembering this resort as it caters very well for little ones. Penguin Kindergarten Park is now open for children aged 2-8 to help them master balancing on their skis or snowboards. There is also a lift to take them to the top of the park and penguins, snowmen, toadstools and various other fun characters to weave in and out of! It's a great way to introduce your little ones to snow sports. For adults, there are plenty of snow school opportunities for you as well, whether you’re an expert, a beginner, or you’re a little rusty out on the slopes.

When to visit? The Lecht often gets good snow during the earlier part of the season, sometimes in October and November. It’s best to leave it until the main season to be sure though!

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Skiing in the Lake District

While the season is much shorter and more unreliable, The Lake District is home to England’s highest mountain, and therefore its own skiing opportunities. Lake District Ski Club is run by volunteers with all the running and maintenance carried out by its members. Founded in 1936, early members built a rope tow but today there is a lift in place with the rope tow running at weekends. If you don’t want to become a member, it costs £10 a day to use all of the facilities, but unlike the big resorts in Scotland, there are no classes, instructors or equipment hire, so if you’re a beginner, this probably wouldn’t be your first option. If you know what you’re doing though, this is a great spot to glide down the slopes and take in the stunning views across the Helvellyn mountains.

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Skiing in Northumberland

Bet you didn’t know you could ski in Northumberland? On the edge of the village of Allenheads is a small ski facility with a variety of slopes, rope pulls and at the bottom, a lovely spot for a picnic lunch! There are no options for classes here as it is only a small village resort which requires a membership for use, however this costs only £30 a year or £70 for a family. If you’re a beginner, don’t let the lack of facilities put you off as it might be a good opportunity to try your skills on a smaller slope. As members, you’ll also get discounts on ski wear and equipment for a number of selected snow sport stores.

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Dry ski slopes and indoor snow centres

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If you’re not going to make it to the mountains then there are plenty of snow centres around the UK which offer all kinds of facilities for those looking for some snow sport fun.

Try Cardiff Ski & Snowboard Centre for pre-ski holiday lessons or to pick up a new hobby. In Dorset, head to Snowtrax for all kinds of family fun including the rings and ski bobs, the Alpine Adventure Park with trampolines and swings, and dry ski slopes where you can book lessons on skis or snowboards. The SnowDome in Tamworth, Staffordshire is a whole load of indoor fun including tubing, tobogganing, ski and snowboard lessons, and a swimming pool and fitness studio!

There are locations all over the UK where you can learn to ski without even having to find a mountain.

Posted by Hannah on 16th November 2018