News from the snow
Glenshee is one of Scotland's two westerly ski areas, located close to Royal Deeside and the British Queen's 'Summer residence' at Balmoral castle. It is easy to reach from Aberdeen to the West, Inverness to the North and P:erth, Edinburgh and Glasgow to the south. The Glenshee Chairlift Company has a long history, with skiing beginning in the area in 1933. Today the company owns Britain's largest network of ski lifts - dubbed the Scottish 3 Valleys - with 3 restaurants, ski school and a ski shop. In recent years Glenshee has linked with Glencoe ski centre on Scotland's West Coast to offer combined season passes and mid-week passes . When Glenshee's skiing history began there were a few enthusiasts who had learned to ski in Europe and practised their new found sport in the hills around Glenshee. After the war years, some of these same enthusiasts came back to the area to ski, and they decided to take some of the hard work out of skiing by building simple rope tows to pull them uphill. These tows were driven off the rear wheels of motor cycles or tractors anchored at the top of the slope. During the late 50's, Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen Ski Clubs all had tows of this type in various snow holding gullies in the Glenshee area. In 1957, when several of the present Directors of the Glenshee Chairlift Co were arranging finance to rebuild the Spittal Hotel after fire damage, an agreement was made with the Invercauld Estate granting the right to develop skiing within the boundary of the present ski area. In 1957 Dundee Ski Club built the first T-bar tow on Meall Odhar. This increased the pleasure derived from skiing and also increased the demand for more mechanised uplift. On formation of the Glenshee Chairlift Co in 1961 the agreement with Invercauld was transferred to the present company and the Cairnwell Chairlift and a small cafe were built. The Company opened to the public in December 1962 with excellent snow cover for their first season. Following this success came the installation of Sunnyslope T-bar in the summer of 1963. Unfortunately the winter of 1963/64 brought only a few patches of snow on Cairnwell and the new Sunnyslope tow operated for just 7 days. In common with the other Scottish snow ski centres, development over the years has been dependent on the success of the winter season with profits being ploughed back into the Company whenever possible. In 1978 the first Kassbohrer trail grooming tractor was purchased and the resort now has five such groomers. Artificial snow making cannons have been introduced in recent years and Glenshee now has seven cannons, with its high pressure system being the first in Scotland.
Glenshee Ski Centre, Scotland's 'Three Valleys' flanks each side of Britain's highest road pass and offers more lifts and marked piste kilometres then any other British ski centre. The Centre is close to Braemar where the annual 'Gathering' is staged, and the Queen's summer residence of Balmoral.
Intermediate skiers will be spoilt for choice with no less than 26 blue and red runs, varying from the long and exhilarating to the short and steep. Whilst advanced skiers or boarders will also enjoy the variety and challenge of these runs, there are two black runs which are considered to be a formidable part of the Scottish skiing experience - and have been for many years.
Glenshee ski centre's own ski school takes children aged six and over and the resort operates a crèche in high season for which its important to book ahead to ensure opening and a place.
Many hotels and restaurants to choose from in the surrounding villages of Braemar, Blairgowrie, Ballater, Glenisla, Kirkmichael and Bridge of Cally.
A wide range of other amenities are available at Braemar, Blairgowrie, Ballater and the many surrounding villages of Spittal of Glenshee, Glensila, Kirkmichael and Bridge of Cally. Activities include gliding, golf, fishing, walking, mountain biking, bird watching, 4x4 off road, clay pigeon, swimming, riding, castle and whisky trails.
Whether freeriding or freestyling or just beginning, the on-hill terrain on offer is as varied as it is expansive, ranging from the natural quarter pipes and man made features of Butchart's Coire to the wide open expanses at Coire Fionn and Glas Maol to the gentle slopes of Claybokie and the Cluny's. "Scotland's secret treasure...if your first priority is snowboarding, then Glenshee is the place" Snowboard UK Magazine, 1997.