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

November 10, 2008
Peter Balfour from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I have been to this great little ski resort many times when I was a boy and in recent years. Sometimes I have been skiing on a small patch of snow and sometimes I have had 1/2 metre of fresh powder; but I am always grateful for what there is and I have a good time. For those that think the prices are too expensive I suggest you save your money and walk up.
January 27, 2009
Dave M from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Great effort this season at Cairngorm to get as many of the runs prepared as possible. I was lucky enough to get up there at the beginning of December and on 2 other days since. I check out the Cairngorm website fairly often and there have been many good days skiing already this year. As usual the weather plays an important part. Consider this, I was out golfing on Sunday up the coast (40-50 miles from Cairngorm); sunny, warm at times (relatively) and windy, then on Monday a great days skiing available on Cairngorm (should of taken a 'sicky' and gone). Not quite the snow, sun and sea you can get abroad, but come on it's January and Scotland.
February 05, 2006
david hope from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Aviemore is by far the worst resort in Scotland. Not because its runs or uplift is bad but because the people who run the resort lie to you about the conditions on the hill just to ensure that they get the extortionate ticket price off you. And if you challenge them after your first run about the reports of good snow and low winds when you have been sliding on your arse on ice while getting blown up hill by a 70 mile an hour wind, they will not consider refunding you a penny. Please, please avoid this resort at all costs and try one of our other 4 resorts.
February 02, 2008
aileen mcdonald from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Expensive for what you get. Would not sell a half-day morning ticket (sold them last year) so paid full price for two hours on the slope. The Lecht is cheaper with easier parking, but smaller.
April 04, 2016
Spike Soton from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Just had a great day skiing on the Thursday of the week after Easter with very small queues, perfect snow on most runs above the mid station and mostly sunny weather. My only criticism is that the short beginners Poma was running a bit fast for an unmanned beginners lift. My daughter got clouted hard before I could get in a position to fend off the buttons.
November 30, 2010
Adam West from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
We loved Cairngorm for skiing. No it is not a big alpine resort with hundreds of runs and thousands of ski lifts but it is small and intimate with amazing views. And there are all sorts of things to do if the road up to the mountain is not open. We brought the kids as I wanted them to try skiing without the expense of traveling abroad so that they could learn. We also took them to the raindeer centre and down to see the polar bears (a big hit with the 10 year old) and then a ride on the steam train. All great fun and I didn't have to remortgage the house. I would recommend it to any family or young or novice skier to find their feet. And the resort can be reached quickly from the UK if you just fancy a weekend away on the slopes. All in all, a fantastic experience.
November 30, 2010
Callum Reeves from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I went to Cairngorm on Saturday 27th November. I arrived in Aviemore at 9:30am and it took 2 hours before I could buy my ticket. The road on the way up from Aviemore to the anow gates was horrible. However, the road was cleared from the anow gates up to the car park. Great job on clearing that road but what about the rest of it? It's a bit pointless since everyone was stuck at the hill by the clay pigeon hut! To add to the pain, their website had initially stated the price was £20.50 the night before due to limited uplift. Upon arriving however, it was now possible to ski from top to bottom so they whacked it up to full price. Now this I would accept but the uplift remained only with the M1 poma, a T-bar at the top and the funicular and it had taken me an extra 2 hours to actually manage to buy a full day ticket (couldn't get a half-day ticket since it wasn't 12:30 yet). So the queues were long and uplift remained limited. They had enough snow to open up all the lifts but they didn't. Please Cairngorm, this place has the potential to be fantastic. When I was out on the slopes, I was so happy to be snowboarding in 30 inches of powder, but the organisation gave me a bitter after-taste.
April 22, 2012
Fraser from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Guys, cut 'Gorm'some slack here! They do their best for the conditions they get. Sure it's not guaranteed but when it's good it's awesome. Here are my tips if you're going up: Car parks fill up quickly, especially at weekends or during school holidays. Get there a wee bit earlier if you want to be in the Cas (upper car park). Even better, car share with someone else, or take a regular bus from Aviemore (right outside train station). Take cash for buying your ticket. There's a separate queue and it will make it a lot quicker. The train getting blocked at tunnel mouths used to be a problem. However, they now have a heated door at the top tunnel entrance, so snow shouldn't lie here now. If there is snow blocking the bottom, then there should be enough to run a lift from the bottom, so take one of these! The surface lifts take a lot of pressure off the train, allowing it to be used for beginners. You can take either the car park T-bar or Fiacaill ridge poma, and then the M1 poma (takes you to the top station) or the Cas T-bar (takes you to the bottom of traverse, and there are some nice greens and blues here. The Ciste side of the mountain is good if the west wall poma is open, and this is where the most challenging terrain is, some off-piste too. Things I would suggest to Cairngorm: Get updates on earlier in the morning, although this is improving. Get the Ciste Chairlifts running again! It would allow access directly from the Ciste (lower car park) to the bottom of the top bowl! It opens up a lot more terrain, and by not having chairs in use you are falling behind other ski resorts. So if you're thinking about a trip up 'Gorm, then check the updates on their website or phone recorded message. When it's good, it's awesome. Some days will have more sketchy weather, and fewer runs but they try their best! Also be sure to check out their mini shred areas, these are great fun!
February 24, 2010
Simon, Edinburgh from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
We were up at Cairngorm on Fri 19th Feb. The snow was in great condition, although hill cloud meant the top of the mountain was very misty. We arrived at 8:20 and got into the top car park, 40 min wait for ski hire but queues on the funicular were a max of 5 mins. Had a great day, really impressed with the funicular railway. It looks like the snow will last to May at Cairngorm.
March 24, 2010
Eleanor from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Have you noticed that the negative comments have died down apart from 1 comment from a guy who hasn't been in the last 12 months. I live in Wrexham N.Wales, and went to Cairngorm for the weekend Feb 20-21st. We had an amazing weekend. Skiing from the top of the mountain to the lower carpark. There was a shuttle bus running throughout the day from the lower carpark back up to the funicular. From the weather reports I saw on the news in Jan and early Feb I am not surprised they were struggling with 2m of snow in one night in places etc. The only problem we had was when the funicular went down for an hour on the Sunday, other than that the pistes were world class with blue skies. We enjoyed it so much we're going to Cairngorm again this weekend. A great cheap skiing weekend. I highly recommend it.