Head outdoors with the kids for some fun in the snow this winter. Building a snowman in the garden, a full-on snowball fight or sledging down the nearest hill can provide hours of fun. If you’d rather stay on piste, then head for either Glenshee or the Lecht, assuming the roads are open.
Glenshee Ski Centre
Glenshee Ski Centre offers 21 lifts and 36 runs at all levels of difficulty, with some of Scotland’s best snow and facilities when the weather conditions are right. There’s a team of fully qualified instructors on hand to get you started or improve your technique. It also offers some amazing snowboarding terrain, from the Dink Dink run for complete beginners to some of the steepest runs and most challenging sculpted terrain in the Cairngorms.
Lecht 2090 is based in the heart of Scotland’s largest National Park at the top of the pass between Tomintoul and Strathdon. The Lecht is especially good for beginners and intermediates. There are a total of 12 different lifts, including a three person chairlift and a magic carpet travelator to get young novices going on day one. You book hire equipment and clothing on line, or book lessons at the ski school. Non-skiers can take refuge in the day lodge, which houses a café, bar, ticket office, shop, ski hire and toilets all under one roof.
Aberdeen Snowsports Centre
If it turns out to be a mild winter, then the artificial slope at Garthdee’s Aberdeen Snowsports Centre is a great alternative. They offer taster sessions, lessons and camps. You can even drop the kids off and do a little shopping while they hurtle down the hill. Tubing is great fun for youngsters and requires no skill, perfect if you have kids of different ages or abilities.
Linx Ice Arena
If ice skating has more appeal, then the Linx Ice Arena at the beach offers year round facilities. Linx offers learn-to-skate classes for children, and parent and toddler sessions as well as being home to the city’s ice hockey clubs.
Winter Village Ice Rink
The temporary rink on Broad Street forms the centrepiece of the city’s festive Winter Village from Friday 17 November – Sunday 31 December. There’s also a funfair, food and shopping opportunities, so make an afternoon of it.
Huntly Nordic Ski Centre
Huntly Nordic Ski Centre offers the UK’s only purpose-built all-weather facility for cross-country skiing. The friendly staff provide tuition at all levels from novice to elite and there are facilities for Nordic Skiing, a 30 metre downhill mat for tubing and an 800 metre roller ski track, which kids love. Cross Country Skiing, done on flat ground, is surprisingly painful on the thighs, as adults will discover for a couple of days after a session. If the snow cover is good, the centre has access to high level trails in the Clashindarroch Forest and hires skis by the day. There are regular family roller ski courses priced around £25 per adult and £12.50 for juniors over the age of eight. An hour’s tubing is £8 for adults and £6 for children, with booking advised and there are a selection of one day and weekend courses suitable for all levels over the winter months.