Glenshee ski resort is run by skiers and snowboarders, for skiers and snowboarders. Like all of us UK based snowsport enthusiasts they want to get as much slope time as possible. So we asked a local rider to put together this guide to Glenshee snowboarding in Scotland, so you can make the most of it when the conditions are good.
Introducing Glenshee Ski Resort
Situated in the Cairngorm Mountains, Glenshee is the largest ski resort in the UK. It’s the focal point for snowboarding in Scotland and those looking to get their fix of the white stuff during the unpredictable ski season. In this guide to Glenshee snowboarding, I’ll let you know why it has something for all levels and styles of snowboarder.
Glenshee offers a variety of green, blue, red and black runs. Poma lifts are the main mode of transport as well as two double chair lifts, one T-bar and the recently added triple seater granting access to the top of the Tiger black run.
In total the area has 22 lifts and 36 runs, check out the piste map below. Glenshee has some of the best freeride snowboarding in Scotland, with plenty of options to return to a lift at the bottom, allowing you to lap the powder.
When the whole area is open, even on a busy Saturday or during half term, queues and waiting times are bearable. This is because the masses that head to Glenshee are spread across the entire ski area with its differing terrain catering to a spectrum of skills and abilities.
One of the biggest difficulties with good snow in Scotland is that you can’t get to it. However in recent times (my last season there being 2016) road closures have been kept to a minimum, with dedicated ploughing and gritting allowing us snow enthusiasts to get to the good stuff.
No guide to Glenshee snowboarding in Scotland would be complete without talking about lift pass prices. An adult day ticket at Glenshee is a very reasonable £30 and kids ski for just £20.
There are beginner friendly prices starting at £17, and a family ticket,– two adults and two children – costs £80. Season passes start at £310 for an adult with early bird prices being available from the 31st of October. Find out more at: www.ski-glenshee.co.uk
Glenshee snowboarding lessons
With a dedicated ski school and wealth of experienced instructors Glenshee can cater for first-timers, beginners, families and those looking to perfect their snowboarding. A number of Scottish ski and snowboard schools are active in the area to inspire the next generation of shredders.
The official Glenshee snowboarding tuition is available through Gulabin Outdoors. They offer group lessons starting from £25 per session for 1.5 hours.
Accommodation and Travel
Glenshee is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Your best bet for finding a guest house, B&B or country hotel are in Braemar (8 miles north) or Spittal of Glenshee (6 miles south).
Despite there being public transport such as the Heather Hopper bus, the most reliable way to get to Glenshee is by car. The parking area can accommodate 2000 vehicles and it is around a 2 hour drive north from Edinburgh.
Watering holes & filling stations
If you haven’t brought a packed lunch with you, the Base Café is a great option. They serve a good range of hot and cold served dishes mainly sourced from local suppliers such as Braemar Butcher.
There are also two café’s nestled amongst the slopes – Cairnwell Café and Meall ODhar Café. They provide a welcome refuge on a stormy day, and are perfect for a snack or a lunch stop to recharge, before heading back to the slopes.
Guide to Glenshee snowboarding
Whatever your level there are some good slopes to look for. I have been going to Glenshee for many years and have moved from a beginner to advanced snowboarder, so this is my guide to Glenshee snowboarding by ability level.
Beginners to Intermediate
Glenshee is where I first fell in love with snowboarding and there are a range of possibilities for those looking to pick up a board for the first time. Dink Dink is perfect for complete beginners or parents helping their little one’s make their first tentative turns.
Once you have mastered Dink Dink, Plastic Slope, Sunnyside, Cluny, Tom Dearg, Butchart’s Coire, Trainer and Claybokie are all great options to progress and build confidence. Sunnyside was my personal favourite at that stage of my boarding journey.
The Tiger is Glenshee’s only challenging black run. It comes with angry moguls and on a gusty day it can become rather scoured and icy. However, I promise it’s worth the effort with magnificent Cairngorm views from the top, and the ski area laid out before you on your way down.
Freeride and off-piste
For the advanced, Glenshee snowboarding in Scotland provides probably the best lift accessible off-piste in the UK with a whole host of lines on offer. There is also good backcountry options on the surrounding peaks if you don’t mind hiking, so get out that split board, avoid lift fees and chase some Scottish POW, you might even find a haggis too!
Glas Moal is on the perimeter of the Ski Zone looking right from the car park as you arrive. It offers some of the steepest descents in the area. On a powder day you can spend hours playing here, with an plenty of off-piste terrain and a lift at the bottom to scoop you back up to the top.
Carn Aosda is another fantastic slope with endless freeride possibilities. It’s one of my favourites for powder hunting.
Glenshee’s varied on-hill terrain makes it a great experience for freestylers – look out for the natural quarter pipes of Butchart’s Coire and the Plastic Slope. There is also a handcrafted terrain park, complete with boxes, rails, kickers and jumps, the location of which depends on the conditions.
Park enthusiasts can enjoy some friendly competition at the various events throughout the season, such as rail jams and boarder cross sessions. In 2016 the UK Boarder Cross Championships were held at Glenshee and were open to public entry.
Future of Glenshee snowboarding in Scotland
Glenshee has made its 10 year plan public. This includes creating a cairngorm ski resort with the addition of a dedicated snow park, destination restaurant and accommodation. It also aims to improve its offering for family groups.
Furthermore Glenshee aims to develop itself as a year round destination. The winter season improvements and expansion are integral part of this plan to further develop mountain activities in the region.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide to Glenshee Snowboarding in Scotland. To get a sense of Glenshee on a bluebird day be sure to watch the above video. For more info head to www.ski-glenshee.co.uk