Most Scottish ski areas opened for the 20-21 season last weekend, but the Scottish Government announced that most of the country is going in to the ‘#highest tier’ in the Scottish system, which is more-or-less lockdown, from Boxing Day, December 26th, for at least three weeks.

This places further restrictions on the already tight restrictions in place due to the pandemic, but most of the centres believe they can continue to operate under tier 4.

Although only ‘essential travel’ is permitted under the new restrictions, “non- contact sport” is allowed so long as only people travelling from the local area participate.

The biggest change therefore is that only people living local to the ski areas can ski and board the slopes of the open centres from Saturday.

Glencloe is allowed to have people visit from Highland Region only, with The Lecht saying they can welcome skiers from Moray and Aberdeenshire only and Glenshee (pictured above this week) from Perthshire and Aberdeenshire only.

Cairngorm has decided to close “indefinitely” due to the tier 4 restrictions and Nevis Range had already said it would not open until later in the winter when it hopes trading conditions and snow conditions will allow it to operate commercially viably after making a big loss through 2020.

The three centres that are opening are stressing it’s important that only skiers living in the areas they are allowed to accept skiers from during the three week period attempt to visit them.

“From the 26th of Dec for 3 weeks we will only be able to accept visitors from the Highlands. *Please note travel restrictions will be enforced and breaches of the travel guidance are highly likely to lead to our closure,” a statement from Glencoe on 23rd December reads, continuing, “We appreciate how frustrating it is if you don’t live in the Highlands but please respect the governent guidance so that at least some local people can get out  and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of getting out in the mountains and we can also hopefully earn enough money to keep the wolf from the door. …Fingers crossed from mid January we will be able to welcome many more of you to Glencoe Mountain Resort.”

Most parts of the ski day can be, and should be, purchased in advance online by those who can still go skiing.

So far Scottish areas have, in any case, only been able to open small amounts of terrain using their all-weather snowmaking system, but a large storm is expected to roll in over Christmas following the lighter snowfalls in recent days.