Skiing in England
The Lake District Ski Club in Raise
A premier tourist spot for hiking and watersports, but did you know that the Lake District is also one of England’s prime skiing spots? It’s all made possible by the Lake District Ski Club, situated in Raise, a Fell on the main spine of Helvellyn mountain at the southern end of the National Park. The Club was founded 1936, this volunteer run group committed vast amounts of time to keeping the terrain in a ski-able and accessible condition. They’re even known to cheer you on as you ski! An hour's walk from Glenridding village, it’s an 800m journey that gives skiers access to 9 different runs, which are all well worth it. It is important to note that while this is some of the best skiing that England has to offer, it is certainly not for the inexperienced, with the aptly named ‘Savages’ the toughest of the lot. For more information on the Lake District Ski Club, click here.
Weardale Ski Club in Bishop Auckland
Even further north than the Lake District, we have another ski club that is run by a group of snow obsessed volunteers. The spot for skiing is a huge basin that is made possible by two Poma lifts taking visitors to the top where they will be able to see the ski run as a whole. Depending on the snowfall of course, the runs at Weardale Ski Club can go for lengths of up to 3,280 ft. Luckily for those using it, the snow (which falls between November and April) is generally stable, which is in no large part down to the hard work carried out by the volunteers fencing in the snow during the summer months. For information on visiting or getting involved with the Weardale Ski Club, click here.
Ski-Allenheads in Allenheads
Based not far from the mining village in Northumberland, what this slope lacks in traditional ‘ski faculties’, it makes up for with a large, reliable amount of snow. Due to the position of the slope, during the winter the Upper Valley holds any snow that falls, meaning skiing can happen with as little as 5 to 10 cm of snow. This quiet, peaceful area allows skiers to enjoy the run with a tranquil, pleasant backdrop, alongside a cosy cabin that makes for a lunch with panoramic views. Formerly known as the British Norwegian Ski Club, the Ski-Allenheads worked hard over the last 40 or so years to make the very best of the area. To find out more about the program and skiing in Allenheads, click here.
Yad Moss, Alston
If you’re an experienced skier and are looking for a high quality slope, this might be the one for you. Yad Moss is one of the highest points in the North Pennies and situated not far from Alston. A slope that is almost 2,000ft long with a vertical rise of almost 400ft, and also home to the country’s longest ski lift at 600ms long, Yad Moss is widely seen as England’s premier run. When the snow is good, the run boasts over 4km of ski slope, and some really fun off piste action too. Despite it’s fun and enjoyable skiing and excellent lift system, there are no ski hire or catering facilities at Yad Moss, there is a stone lodge cabin that’s a good place to rest in between skis. It is important to note however, that if you are below intermediate level, this may not be the place for you. While it’s great for skiers that love a challenge, for anyone still developing their skills or just starting out, this could prove a tough day out. Like others in our English picks, this is maintained by a team of volunteers, and can get very busy after a bout of fresh snow. So if you’re interested in making the trip, click here to book ahead and find out more.
Skiing in Scotland
It is hardly unsurprising that arguably the most beautiful glen in Scotland is also both the oldest skiing centre and seen to be number one place for skiing and snowboarding in the UK. First established in 1955, Glencoe Mountain now has 7 lifts and 19 runs, making it the longest and steepest run in Scotland and with the amount of snow it gathers during the winter months, it is something of a spiritual home for thrill seeking British skiers. Standouts include the black run Flypape, red run Rannoch Glades and blue Etvie run. To make the trip to Glencoe even better, the resort is situated in Rannoch Moor and offers breathtaking views of the famous Buachaille Etive Mor.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort in Fort William
Famous for its mountain gondola ski ride that takes skiers up 2,130ft to top of the UK’s tallest mountain in just 12 minutes, this resort works for all different standards of skier. Probably the most well known run is the Back Corries, deemed to be best or in bound freeride terrain for ski and snowboard in the whole country, with slopes so steep they rival anything you’d find in Europe (when the conditions are right of course). Only a 10 minute drive or a bus ride from Fort William, the Nevis Range Mountain Resort one of the few places in the UK where renting accommodation in the town for a proper few days skiing, not to mention spectacular views of the Western Highlands, the lochs that lay below as well as the Isle of Skye in the distance. Only thing to say is check the weather before you book your trip, as it can be temperamental. Click here for more information.
Lecht Ski Centre in Strathdon, Eastern Cairngorms
It’s not often we get to write this when talking about a ski and snowboard destination in the UK, but this is perfect for beginners and those intermediate skiers who are developing their technique. The Lecht Ski Centre is based in Eastern Cairngorms, the largest national park in the whole of Scotland, and has 20 well maintained ski runs and 13 lifts. It also includes a ski school with a friendly welcoming staff, that will make anyone just getting into skiing and snowboarding feel really comfortable and excited to get involved. Click here for more information.
Lowther Hills Ski Club in Wanlockhead
Considering it sits in between two villages with a deep tradition for skiing, it might be something of a surprise that this ski resort is a newcomer to snow sports in the UK. Flanked by the villages of Wanlock and Leadhills, which also sit at the highest altitude in the whole of the country, Lowther Hill Ski Club is a rich skiing community and certainly worth a trip to if you are visiting Southern Scotland. For prices and how to help as a volunteer click here.
Skiing in Northern Ireland
While it is an area of the UK known for it’s glorious peaks, they do not attract enough snow, meaning that unfortunately, there are no natural Ski Slopes in Northern Ireland. However if you are keen to go skiing, there are a couple of options. The Craigavon Ski Centre, located near New Forge Country House in Ulster is the country’s only artificial ski slope. The Centre features a main run that measures at 300 ft, alongside a selection of nursery slopes for skiers and snowboarders who are just starting out. Alternatively, there is We are Vertigo, Northern Ireland’s one Indoor Ski slope, and part of an inflatable Park and Activity Centre in Belfast’s Newtownbreda Factory Estate. Made with a Maxxtrack ski slope, it’s a setup that is great for developing your ski or snowboarding skills, and prides itself on reducing the time visitors spend on lifts.
Skiing in Wales
The best way to describe the natural ski slopes in Wales is….unofficial. The snow on Brecon Beacons has made it traditionally for tobogganers and sledging, but there are some that also enjoy skiing down the 886m of the beautiful Pen-y-Fan. This is despite the area having no facilities for getting to the top, although ski clubs have been known to organise rope tows.
Snowdonia, a mountainous range in the north of the country, also has a few options. Snowdon, the highest peak in the whole of Wales (and England for that matter) has 762m of vertical range and can be skied on if you’re at an intermediate level. However, there are no lifts, no runs and the area can struggle with snowfall due to its rugged terrain and coastal location, but the steep terrain makes the whole thing worthwhile. Nearby mountains such as The Glyders, Moel Siabod and the Carnedd range, are better if you are looking for freeride skiing spots, with vertical descents of 500-750m as they have sheltered gulleys where deep snow is known to accumulate. Snow in the region has been rare over the past two decades, and it's difficult pinpointing exactly when it will fall and can be anytime between november to april...although don’t expect more than a few days of skiing. Maybe not worth a long journey, but certainly worth a go if you live close by.