Braemar is well placed for Alpine Skiing with Glenshee ski centre 9 miles south of the village. This is the largest ski centre in the UK with 22 lifts, 36 runs (snow permitting) and loads of natural terrain with everything from black runs to nursery slopes. Hire equipment is available; they have several cafes and open daily whilst there’s snow. Located less than 25 miles away to the east and north (of Braemar) is The Lecht ski centre with 12 runs covering the entire spectrum of steepness from black to green you’ll find something to ski regardless of the level you’re at. The café and ticket office etc are located in the purpose built day lodge.
Both centres are suitably family orientated with plenty of easy terrain and low speed lifts that are great if you’re just starting out. Instruction is available at Glenshee from www.gulabinoutdoors.co.uk and direct from the Lecht. Hire is also available in the village from skibraemar www.cyclehighlands.com/ski-hire/
Head to www.ski-glenshee.co.uk or www.lecht.co.uk and enjoy sliding downhill on one plank rather than two. Glenshee receives praise for its natural terrain and rail park. Both ski centres have full instruction available if you feel need to brush up on your skills or if you’re starting from scratch.
Alpine Touring or Ski Mountaineering is basically walking (or skinning) uphill on skis to come back down again. With no lifts and no crowds you’re free to ski where ever you please. You could choose to ski to a distant peak or just nip up a snowy slope from the side of the road for an hour or so. The hills and mountains around Braemar lend themselves favourably to skiing and historically the Eastern Cairngorms are one of the snowiest regions in the UK. There are literally miles and miles of skiable terrain, covering every conceivable type of slope. Inevitably the gear used is different from regular Alpine skiing but if you don’t feel like splashing out on new then consider hiring equipment from www.braemarmountainsports.com.
Using skinny metal edged skis and light weight boots Nordic skiing is about travelling on skis. When conditions allow the Eastern Cairngorms have a vast array of potential routes from family orientated trips such as Derry lodge from Linn of Dee (6 miles total) or the out and back to Loch Callater from the A93 to traversing the Cairngorm plateau. You can even ski across the local golf course! Further down the valley other excellent areas are Ballochbuie forest on Balmoral estate and Glen Tanar. For those wary of setting off ski touring with little experience Nordic skiing is a great place to start as you don’t have to go high or far to have fun. Equipment is available to hire from www.braemarmountainsports.com
Crosscountry or XC skiing uses similar gear to Nordic only it’s even lighter and the skis never have a metal edge. This tends to limit their performance/suitability to the golf course and gentle tracks. Once again equipment is available from www.braemarmountainsports.com