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 17, 2007
Joe Black from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I have just been on a boarding holiday at the Grand Valira in Andorra and I must say that I have had a lot better days at Cairngorm than Andorra. The runs at Cairngorm have never been as crowded as Andorra and the quality of the snow at Cairngorm is much better. Why waste all of your money to go skiing in Europe when it's just as good, if not better, up at Cairngorm.
November 28, 2006
Fiona Charlton from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
There seem to be a vast range of comments regarding skiing on Cairngorm, all I can say is that we came to Cairngorm for the first time last winter for our first taste of skiing and we (3 adults and 3 children) loved it! The staff were fantastic, as was the friendly and enthusiatic teaching. They made such a great impression I drove (with 5 children) up from Dumfries and Galloway for an afternoon's skiing at easter, 2 children had tutition and were skiing by themselves by the end of the afternoon! See you soon Cairngorm (Feb 2007)
November 23, 2006
Nodge from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I would like to agree with Steve Hammonds comment. Aviemore does have rocks and lots of them and they are rarely covered in snow.
November 10, 2006
Tom McEwan from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Skiing or boarding in Cairngorm or any of the Scottish resorts is about passion and challenge with wind that can turn you to stone some days to blissfull blue sky days where you feel you are in heaven, be humble and be grateful for what you have. A positive outlook results in positive experiences, however if you want constant conditions with great powder you will have to wait 50 years for global warming to suprisingly give Scotland colder winters (when Europe won't get any more snow)
November 01, 2006
Harry Harrison from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
This is a great resort for powder, you can wait in a queue of cars at the bottom of the hill and look at the mountain covered in it. Unfortunately you cannot ski on it because the road will be closed, 4 days later when the storm has passed and the wind has stopped drifting the snow all over the road you can rush up and look at the rocks where the snow was before it blew down into the valley or melted again. However if you are seeing these rocks it is only because you have the advantage of paying a lot of money to be there, everyone else who is just reading the snow report on the TV will think you are in Powder Paradise because the Snow Reports on Teletext are complete fabrications of someones over fertile imagination.
October 11, 2006
steve hammond from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I live in Aviemore and it rocks!!!! Yeah the snow can come and go very quckly but when it's good it's GOOD!! Had a great March/April last session and Nov!!! And they had some great jumps built, just wish they got their finger out and built them in March not end of April!!! But by far the most people friendly resort!!! Bring on the snow!!
March 26, 2006
Julia from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I have just returned from a few days in Aviemore. The visit, my first time but definately not the last. I had travelled there with a degree of ignorance as to how well the resort would be run. I was pleasantly surprised and couldn't fault the facilities or the prices! We hit lucky with the weather too, with a dusting of snow falling overnight, making a packed base great for boarding the next day. The place wasn't overcrowded (althought there were quite a few school groups out....lucky them!) and plenty of runs open making for a varied day. Think it must all be down to the snow on the day as personally I can't fault the place and will sure be back :-)
March 23, 2006
Grant from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
In response to Simon - I am into the whole customer experience scene (as should anyone who pays good money for a service) and I am passionate about snow sports hence why I suggest anyone with sense (obviously not you Simon) should go to one of the other 4 centres (Glenshee, Nevis and Glencoe being the preferred Scottish options).
March 22, 2006
Simon McCullagh from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
It is apparent that Grant and David are into the whole customer experience scene and they have no passion for snow sports. If you want perfect conditions go to Europe or USA, if you want to get out on the hill at the weekend Scotland is good. I can admit that Cairngorm can be pretty nasty sometimes, so can any snow sports location in Scotland. It is all about reading between the lines with snow reports. We don't get that much snow so make the most of it and stop your complaining as real snow badgers get hacked off with you. Cairngorm is a good place to learn and is well worth it, but read between the lines when looking at the snow reports.
March 20, 2006
Si from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Visited Cairngorm in March 2006 and found the resort to be well run and, despite some posts here, found the cafes and bars to be very reasonably priced and about the same price as your local cafe. I can't comment on the cost of the equipment hire but can say that it was in excellent condition. Staff working at the resort were friendly and helpful. The only thing that wasn't perfect was the weather as although our first day was a little icy, the second day was superb with some fresh snow overnight but I'm not here to appraise the Scottish weather :) I think the majority of people would enjoy skiing\boarding on Cairngorm but no one can guarantee the conditions. There are numerous websites which provide accurate daily information about the conditions and the info on the resort website (and this one) was spot on!