Winter is coming and anyone with a yearning for the piste will be crossing their fingers for a repeat of last year’s bonanza snowfall. Whether you fancy challenging off-piste runs and upmarket après-ski in Chamonix or a family fun day at the Lecht, here in Aberdeenshire we have access to a wide range of snowy fun.
Geneva is a two and a half hour flight from Aberdeen, and there is plenty of skiing to be had around an hour’s drive from the airport, in the middle of the Alps. Chamonix, Morzine and the Megeve are just a few of the famous ski resorts that are within easy reach. Chamonix has a reputation for challenging pistes and glacier views, while Morzine offers a great base for the wider Portes du Soleil area and is well-known for its lively après-ski scene.
If you prefer a quieter vibe, La Clusaz is a pretty town with good intermediate and advanced slopes and a very French feel, with Le Grand Bornand (known as Grand Bo) just ten minutes away by shuttle bus. Both are small towns with good facilities, perhaps less daunting than some of the larger, glitzier resorts and Grand Bo also is the home of Reblochon cheese – bring on the raclette!
Of course, we don’t need to get on a plane to get on the slopes, with the Cairngorms just up the road. Lecht 2090 is at the top of the pass between Tomintoul and Strathdon and is an ideal place for all the family with the nursery slopes just next to the car park. It has 10 runs, varying from beginner blues to advanced blacks, and 12 different lifts including a chairlift and the Magic Carpet, which can uplift 10,000 people in a day.
Glenshee is the largest ski centre in the UK, with 21 lifts and tows covering four mountains and three valleys on the Invercauld Estate. The summit is 1068m and there are 36 runs in total, ranging from green to black, and swathes of freestyle terrain for adventurous snowboarders. There is also a manmade terrain park to practice tricks and jumps.