Nevis Range, also known as Aonach Mor, is Scotland's newest and most modern ski area, located next to Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. It was opened for the 1989-90 season. Lifts include the UK's only quad chair and six-person gondola, the latter giving it that 'Continental feel', although spectacular views over the West Coast are very Scottish. The nearest town is Fort William where much of the accommodation and apres ski facilities are based.
Nevis Range is a modern and well designed ski area with excellent skiing for all abilities. There are a total of 35 runs served by 12 lifts and a total uplift of 9,600 per hour. Easy greens make up 20% of runs at Nevis Range so theres plenty of scope for beginners. An artificial ski slope provides a nearly flat, complete beginners area just up from the Snowgoose Restaurant so its easy to access for first timers. Linnhe, Lochy and the portable trainer tow are the next step for beginners who can then venture a little further over to the Rob Roy T-bar in the direction of the Back Corries where theres a more sheltered easy green area with a gentle run back to the Restaurant. Off Alpha Tow, to the right, there is a longer green run which is perfect for beginners who want to progress a little further up the hill and gradually increase their confidence. Nevis Range really is the perfect playground for intermediates with blue runs making up a third of the skiing. Novices should progress quickly around The Fairway with its long, wide open slopes. The Summit Run, the highest in Scotland at 4,000 feet, is a very gentle blue, excellent for perfecting technique and as a bonus, on a clear day it has amazing views of the surrounding area. More experienced skiers will find plenty of challenging terrain around the Snowgoose Bowl and Warrens while a trip 'over the back' into Corrie Dubh is a must. When this area was opened for the 95/96 season it practically doubled the skiing area. The installation of the Braveheart chairlief has turned what was a "white wilderness" into a fantastic skiing area.
Easy access to the slopes via the gondola and chair lifts make Nevis Range one of the more family friendly Scottish ski areas. Dedicated sledging area just to the side of the Snowgoose Restaurant - perfect for the kids and Mum and Dad are able to watch from the restaurant. Fort William is a well above average base for families with the cinema and leisure centres providing off-slope indoor alternatives and a good range of family friendly restaurants from McDonalds up.
The award winning Moorings Hotel at Banavie is one of the closest hotels to the slopes and has an excellent restaurant and bar. In Fort William itself you'll find theres a wide choice of places to eat, from bars to hotels and restaurants. For freshly caught local seafood try the Crannog Restaurant, a converted fishing store, on the Pier. They have their own smoked salmon, trout and mussels, and they do a daily vegetarian dish. On the High Street theres the Highland Star Chinese Restaurant, The Indian Garden Tandoori Restaurant and MacTavish's Garrison Restaurant offering a full range of meals, snacks, coffee and home baking. For bar meals theres the Grand Hotel or the Imperial Hotel.
Most of the apres ski can be found in Fort William approx 5 miles (8km) from Nevis Range. There's a good choice of things to do here from cinema and leisure centres to pub and hotels. The cinema has two screens and a weekly choice of new releases, its right next door to the Tourist Information Centre in Cameron Square. To find out whats on in and around Fort William theres a noticeboard in the Square listing events coming up over the next few days. Fort William has two leisure centres - there's the Nevis Centre with a range of activities including bowling and the Lochaber Leisure Centre at the north end of Fort William which has a pool, water slide and fitness centre with all the multigym apparatus as well as table tennis, 3 squash courts, spacious spa bath, sauna suite, steam baths, solarium and showers. In their refreshment lounge you can even sit back and watch the climbers practise their technique on the climbing wall. The Nevis Bank Hotel is a popular meeting place for climbers and skiers, as is the Nevisport Bar on the High Street which has an open fire, real ales and live music. The Ben Nevis Bar on the High Street has regular live music while if you'd prefer to dance 'til the early hours then MacTavishs Kitchens have a Friday night disco.
Nevis Range's boarding terrain is classified as 50% Freeride, 20% Freestyle, 30% Carving so there is something for riders of all abilities. The Snowgoose Chair and T-bar gives access to Easyrider, Fairways and Far West - wide open runs - perfect for carving it up or just cruising. The Back Corries offers more extreme terrain - cornice and cliff drops, wind lips, natural 1/4 pipes and steeper more challenging runs - enough to satisfy any freerider. For the more advanced theres great off-piste - comparable to many of the mainland European resorts. The main area is on the Summit - the highest run in Scotland - with rails, boxes and ramps with graded take-offs. Warrens has a 1/4 pipe jump while a small boarder/blader cross course is being built on Far West at the Quad Chair. The park is maintained on a daily basis to keep everything in good shape. Riders favourites include The Groove, a gully leading down from The Goose into the natural halfpipe and quarter pipe. Carvers head for the open slopes of Duncan’s Drop, The Goose and Far West where you can let your board run and carve it to the limit. A good taste of steep terrain lies at Winger Wall, which disappears over the edge into the Back Corrie. New terrain parks are being developed each year with rails, boxes and jumps.