Visitor reviews for Cairngorm Ski Resort

Cairngorm Ratings

Overall: 3.2. Based on 30 votes and 87 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 2.7

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Cairngorm is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Variety of pistes: 3.3

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Cairngorm has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Off-piste: 3.0

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Scenery: 4.0

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 3.7

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Cairngorm.

Public Transport: 3.8

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Cairngorm, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Accommodation: 3.9

(1) No places to stay in/near Cairngorm, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 3.6

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 3.8

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Cairngorm.

Ski in/Ski out: 1.9

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 2.3

(1) There are no child care facilities at Cairngorm, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 2.6

(1) Cairngorm relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 3.5

(1) There are no snow groomers at Cairngorm, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Cairngorm are groomed daily.

Shelter: 1.9

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Cairngorm is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 2.3

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Cairngorm, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 3.9

(1) Cairngorm usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 3.6

(1) The staff at Cairngorm are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Cairngorm are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 2.5

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 3.6

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 4.1

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Beginners: 3.5

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 3.6

(1) No intermediate terrain at Cairngorm, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 2.9

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 3.1

(1) Not even a kicker at Cairngorm, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Cross-country: 3.0

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Cairngorm, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 1.8

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Cairngorm has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 3.1

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 3.2

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 3.1

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 3.3

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 3.6

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 4.0

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 2.7

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 3.0

(1) Overall, Cairngorm is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 2.9

(1) Overall, Cairngorm is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

January 22, 2010
Patience from Ski Afghanistan Afghanistan
If you have ever been stuck up that hill (Cairngorm) you will be glad you did not manage to get there in storm force winds (people die). Nevis is at sea level and Glencoe is on a main road not at the end of a B road. FYI Snake Pass was closed still this week and they had way less snow than in the highlands. I went last weekend and knew before I went skiing was going to be almost impossible. If I wanted to ski then it is easy to go to the other centres. Quit moaning. I was once evacuated from the Hill and with all the cars and buses trying to get down it took 5 hours from the car park to Glenmore with the snow getting deeper all the time and I was not last. You can't always operate a plough.
January 21, 2010
Paul Hines from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
What a waste of a week up here in Aviemore! The management of this Ski Centre (Cairngorm)????? What the hell are they playing at? We ended up driving across to Nevis and Glencoe as they at least seemed to know their ass from their elbow! Come on people, how hard can it be, all the other roads in Scotland seem to be fine with not too much effort, how much money do you need to lose before you get someone to keep a road clear overnight??? Is it rocket science???
January 15, 2010
Will from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Just got back from a trip to Cairngorm - only in the UK can so much snow be a problem for a ski resort. It was the one opportunity they had to get me into skiing UK and couldn't get the roads cleared. I suggest the management team/Scottish Tourist Board take a trip to any of the French ski resorts to see how they operate. Cairngorm can't call itself a serious ski resort. Just wasted about £300 on an 800 mile round trip with no skiing with the best snow in years! I'll save my money and head across the Channel.
January 15, 2010
Lindsay Nicol from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Sat 9th January 2010 - 3 hours of agony - day wasted, Highlands and Islands Enterprise who run this so called ski resort (Cairngorm) should be ashamed that they have not invested in new infrastucture. They blame the people who run the resort, CML, when really they hold the purse strings. Being trapped in the forest waiting on their one and only plough that broke down last Sat, and on numerous ocassions before that, to clear the road just aint on. These people in Dingwall should sit up and take notice before it's too late. No backup plan that works and totally incompetent as far as I and 2500 others on the day are concerned. As for the company who run the buses up the mountain, revoke their contract and let the resort buy a couple of buses and do it themselves. They were awarded the contract to provide a service to my fellow snow lovers and they fall short all the time. Not acceptable if you can't be bothered give the contract to a reliable bus company. Stop raping money out of us and not coming up with the goods. Come on Cairngorm, Dingwall, it's about time you were held accountable for your lack of action. Don't want to hear about March budgets and cap ex for next year, just get it done. By then the season is over. For anyone who is interested, Susan Smith is the resort manager for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and she can be contacted. Don't let her fob you off with CML run the resort, lets start applying some outside influence here and make it better for everyone. 07714 145 578 direct all complaints to her, or Sandy Cunning who is the Chief Executive of HIE on 01463 244 240. If you wish to e-mail myself with your complaint I will pass it onto my friends at HIE, e-mail me on: lindsay68uk@live.co.uk lets make this a mountain Scotland can be proud of. Hope this helps. Lets not let them get away with providing us with the old fob off. We pay for this in more ways than one and we want it to improve, lets start telling them.
January 06, 2010
fraserpaton from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I live in Scotland, and I know how rare it is to get such good conditions like there are at the moment, and only in Britain would they be unable to capitalize on it. Cairngorm is by far the worst run resort in Scotland, and they get the most snow??? The A9 was already clear all the way up and the road through Aviemore was cleared, I got up at 5am so I could get there for an early start at 8.30, and the council's did there job in getting me there on time, but Cairngorm must have let the guy who drives the snow plough have a lie in!! They didn't allow us through the gate till 11.30, you'd think at the very least they would allow 4x4's and people with snow chains through, split the car park for people who come prepared.. To make matters even worse you drive past their antiquated snow ploughs one of which I swear looked at least 50 years old, only to be faced with a brand new train, in a sea of T-bars!! and no chairs. The train (the ugliest thing I've seen stuck to the side of a hill in years) cost them god knows how much to build, and it takes 25 mins of just waiting before it even attempts to get you to the top. What a total waste of money. I'm sure some decent chair lifts and a new snow cat and a plough, or two, would have been far wiser spending. Come on guys, get your act together.. you run a ski centre and you grind to a halt when there is too much snow....
January 05, 2010
Mike from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Whilst I can relate to frustrations about Cairngorm, it's still a treasure on our doorstep. I've been boarding in Scotland and Europe for 10 years and I've experienced the best and worst of Cairngorm. I've had epic blue sky days and when it's possible to ride top to bottom I wouldn't consider any other Scottish resort (runs are generally too short elswhere). I suspect that those who write the place off have limited experiences there and choose to focus on the negatives.
January 02, 2010
bret cocker from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Just got back from New Year in Aviemore. I've been going every year now for about 5 yrs and never had much luck with the weather, this yr was differant and they had over 30cm snow in 1 night. The only thing that isn't different is the way the place is run. The snow plough doesn't start moving 'til all the snow enthusiasts are stuck on the road trying to get up to the mountain, hence he can't plough it. Never buy a ticket for a full day at Cairngorm, as anything over 3" of lying snow and the resort goes to pot and you can't get to the mountain (even in a 4x4) until after lunch. After getting to the mountain you see the piste basher parked up and each run has been pisted 1 width( about 4 metres). I love the Cairngorm resort and take my family there at least once a yr (over 6hr drive) but the place is run by idiots so don't expect too much. p.s the 3 hrs of powder I did get was brill.
December 30, 2009
dundeeFC from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Went to Cairngorm on 26-12-09 - overcrowded and overpriced £30 - day ticket. Not gritting the road properly - closed 'till 10, how can they be surprised with snowfall???
June 17, 2009
George Jacob from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I went to Cairngorm twice this season and followed the weather reports through the season. There were some awesome times, but unfortunately I only saw these on webcam. When I was there the snow wasn't particularly great, but I was happy to take the risk. I went in early January when it was cold enough but not quite enough snow had fallen recently, then I went again in early April. The ironic thing about the April trip was that the weekend before I went they had blizzards and every single run was opened. The following week there was an unusual heat-wave and I watched the website as runs were closed one by one. There were about 5 runs open when I finally got there. The top bowl was icy, the lower runs were very melting but we didn't mind. It was fun and that's the risk you take with Scotland. I am a student and both times I went to Cairngorm with a few friends and had an awesome time. I recommend: The Aviemore bunkhouse for accommodation (not the YHA), Skiing Doo, Mambo's and The Vault nightclub for apres-ski, Travel by train, including the overnight train where you get a big comfy seat and you can sleep your way back home. In January we tried taking the coach but this was a mistake. The bus takes a 500 mile route from Coventry to Aviemore and this takes 14 hours. Seriously, take the train. You don't need a car as there is a bus that goes from Aviemore to the resort and gets you there a while before the lifts open, that way you have time to hire skis and get a lift pass. If you want to see some videos of my fun at Cairngorm go to www(dot)youtube(dot)com/rockguitargeorge
May 14, 2009
cARRIE from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Not a great season at Cairngorm compared to last year but still ok. Going back to the mid 80's, I recall some winters only offered the top basin all season.