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Ski Resorts. Glenshee.

 
Glenshee

Although perhaps not the best known of Scotland’s five ski areas, Glenshee is in fact the largest in terms of the extent of the terrain and the number of lifts.

Glenshee’s vast slopes, which have welcomed skiers since the 1930s, extend across three separate valleys. Starting at Braemar, location of the famous annual Highland Gathering each summer, the slopes stretch to Royal Deeside, past Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish retreat, and on to Aberdeen. 

As with all of the Scottish ski areas, Glenshee’s management do annual battle with the vagaries of British weather, some years having excellent, snowy winters and sometimes being plagued by warm weather that brings limited natural snowfall.

When conditions are good - and even when lacklustre but still open - the centre is very popular with a loyal fan base, aided a little by the fact that it is the closest of the centres to four of Scotland’s six cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Stirling.

Despite the popularity of the slopes, there is no resort base at Glenshee and skiers tend to be day trippers or stay in nearby villages, although stand-alone hotels closer to the centre are starting to spring up.

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Getting there

Nearest airport: Dundee Airport (DND); Aberdeen Airport (ABZ); Edinburgh Airport (EDI); Glasgow Airport (GLA).

Distance to resort: 60km (37 miles); 119km (73 miles); 120km (74 miles); 162km (100 miles).

Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes; 1 hour 50 minutes; 1 hour 50 minutes; 2 hours 15 minutes.

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Getting around

Glenshee ski centre is situated 14km (8 miles) south of Braemar and 40km (24 miles) north of Blairgowrie on the A93 road. There is no winter bus service and the nearest rail station is Pitlochry, 52km (32 miles) away, so most visitors arrive by car. Fortunately, there is extensive car parking available, the majority of which can be found in the main car park at the foot of the slopes.

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Hit the slopes

Glenshee's ski season normally takes place between December and April, subject to adequate snow cover. Depending on conditions, the centre may not be open every day so it is important to check ahead before visiting.

There are 40km (24 miles) of ski runs in Glenshee, with nearly three quarters of the runs rated easy blue or intermediate red. The ski area extends over the four peaks of Glas Maol, Meall Odhar, Cairnwell and Cairn Aosda.

There are beginners' areas on both sides of the road, near the car parks, with about a dozen drag lifts serving the area. These green-graded runs are predominantly in the Sunnyside sector.

Intermediates can spread out across the three valleys with long reds beneath Glas Maol. There are wide runs in Thunderbowl and popular sheltered terrain over the back at Coire Fionn. Meanwhile, freestylers and snowboarders will enjoy the bumps, jumps and natural half-pipe of Meall Odhar.

There are two black classified runs, the steepest of which, The Tiger, is beneath the Cairnwell chair. In this part of the mountains there's also a racetrack area that has in the past hosted speed skiing championships.

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Annual snow fall


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Beyond the slopes

There's a lot to do around Glenshee; however, most activities are located a few miles from one another so having a car is important to take full advantage of the opportunities.

Most of the leisure activities available are outdoors and include hill walking, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, birdwatching and clay pigeon shooting. There are also many places of interest in the area with a true Scottish theme, including several whisky distilleries and the village of Braemar – famous for its annual summer Highland Gathering, which is normally attended by a member of the Royal Family.

One local facility is the Glenshee Pottery (tel: +44 1250 882 238; www.glensheepottery.co.uk) which – apart from selling ceramics – stages winter workshops in a wide range of craft activities including needle felting, wire crocheted jewellery and silk papermaking.

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Apres ski

Apres ski at Glenshee is extremely limited with the absence of a real resort base or even a single resort village in the vicinity.  Most skiers and boarders are day trippers from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Perth or Dundee and they head back there once the lifts close. 

Most of the après ski opportunities are therefore in the hotels and village bars of the area.

Braemar is the closest village and there are half a dozen choices here. The Fife Arms Hotel Restaurant (tel: +44 1339 741 927) that was originally a 19th-century hunting lodge is very pleasant with an open fire in the lounge, and Moorfield Hou se (tel: +44 1339 741 244) has a snug traditional bar with a good range of malt whiskies.

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Hotels

Accommodation in Glenshee and the surrounding towns and villages is made up of friendly, comfortable and good value hotels, bed and breakfast guest houses and hostels. There is a wide selection of places to stay in and around Blairgowrie, Alyth, Kirkmichael and the Spittal of Glenshee to the south, and Braemar and Ballater to the north and east. There are also plenty of self-catering lodges, varying in style from traditional wooden chalets to modern builds.

Dalmunzie Castle

Dalmunzie Castle is a warm, friendly, family-run country house hotel with 16 en-suite rooms. It was formerly visited by Queen Victoria and has parts dating back 500 years. Ski packages can be arranged by the hotel.

Category

Luxury

Thoroughfare

Dalmunzie

Neighborhood

XXX

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

PH10 7QG

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1250 885 224.

Website

http://www.dalmunzie.com

The Green Park Hotel

Located in Pitlochry, the nearest large tourist town to the ski area, this imposing hotel enjoys unrivalled views over Loch Faskally and has a restaurant serving tasty French-influenced cuisine.

Category

Moderate

Thoroughfare

XXX

Neighborhood

Pitlochry

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

PH16 5JY

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1796 473 248.

Website

http://www.thegreenpark.co.uk

Gulabin Lodge

A family-run hostel located 10 minutes from Glenshee ski centre, Gulabin Lodge also provides self-catering or bed and breakfast accommodation. Ski and activity breaks can be organised from here.

Category

Cheap

Thoroughfare

Spittal of Glenshee

Neighborhood

Blairgowrie

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

PH10 7QE

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1250 885 255.

Website

http://www.gulabinoutdoors.co.uk

Kinloch House

A highly regarded traditional hotel located roughly 40 minutes from Glenshee by car, Kinloch House holds a five-star rating and offers a luxurious standard of accommodation with unique furnishings in a peaceful location.

Category

Luxury

Thoroughfare

By Blairgowrie

Neighborhood

XXX

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

PH10 7QG

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1250 884 237.

Website

http:// www.kinlochhouse.com

Bridge of Cally Hotel

The Bridge of Cally Hotel is a popular establishment close to Blairgowrie which enjoys a reputation that transcends its three-star rating, thanks predominantly to its invariably excellent service, good food, and spacious rooms.

Category

Moderate

Thoroughfare

Bridge of Cally

Neighborhood

Blairgowrie

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

PH10 7JJ

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1250 886 231.

Website

http:// www.bridgeofcallyhotel.com

The Moorfield Hotel

A family-run hostel located 15km (9 miles) from the slopes in Braemar.  Along with rooms of a respectable standard, the hotel also has an on-site restaurant and cosy traditional bar.

Category

Moderate

Thoroughfare

Chapel Brae

Neighborhood

Blaemar

Locality

Perthshire

Sub Admin Area

XXX

Admin Area

XXX

Postcode

ZE2 9UX

Country

United Kingdom

Telephone

+44 1339 741 244.

Website

http://www.moorfieldhousehotel.com

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Family fun

Glenshee has a very family-friendly atmosphere, which is replicated in the small villages around the resort. The only absentees are indoor facilities such as swimming pools that exist in larger, more centralised resorts – with Aberdeen, Perth or Aviemore being the best options for these types of facilities. On the slopes, the ski school accepts children aged six and older, who can learn in the safety of the nursery slopes near the main car park.

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Eating out

There are three on-mountain restaurants in Glenshee. The Cairnwell Mountain Restaurant is situated mid-mountain, accessed by chairlift, and has great views on a clear day. The cosy Meall Odhar Café is nestled in the middle valley over the road, and is accessed via the Beag Tow. The licensed Base Café is situated at the car park and is a good meeting place and popular with beginners.

In the wider area, much of the evening dining is provided by local hotel restaurants such as Dalmunzie Castle (tel: +44 1250 885 224; www.dalmunzie.com), with its restaurant based in a former laird's mansion.

At the nearby village of Braemar, the intimate Gathering Place Bistro (tel: +44 1339 741 234) is superb with an eclectic menu of Scottish, British and European cuisine, plus vegetarian options. Taste Braemar (Airlie House; (013397) 41425) is also very good for a lighter meal or snack – make sure to try one of the home made cakes on offer.

 

Forecast

Day Wind Weather Max Temp Visibility
Mon 13 NE Weather icon 9°C Moderate
Tue 11 NNW Weather icon 10°C Good
Wed 17 NNW Weather icon 11°C Good
Thu 11 NW Weather icon 10°C Good
Fri 18 SSW Weather icon 12°C Poor
Sat 18 SW Weather icon 12°C Good
Sun 15 S Weather icon 12°C Moderate
Snow icon Last Snow: Apr 29,2015

Facilities

Ski Lifts: 22
Chairs: 3
Drags: 19
Gondolas and Cable Cars: 0

Ski Runs

Beginners: 8
Intermediate: 13
Advanced: 15
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