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With all the coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, many of us may find ourselves tempted to take a quick trip to the slopes ourselves. The UK is often overlooked as a winter sports venue, but at this time of year there are several resorts where you should still find a healthy covering of snow. The only natural ski resorts in the UK are all located in Scotland, although the Lake District sometimes receives heavy enough falls to allow skiing. Don’t rely on this through.

Heavy investment over the last five years means that the five main ski locations in Scotland can now compete with many of the more famous European resorts in terms of both standards and facilities. In the Grampian Mountains you will find the resorts of The Lecht, Cairngorm and Glenshee, or if you are heading to the west of the country, try either Glencoe or the Nevis Range. Generally speaking, although it is inevitably weather dependent, the skiing season runs from early December to mid- April in Scotland.

One of the major benefits of skiing in Scotland is that many budget airlines fly to the handily located airports at Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow, which should help keep your trip within budget.

Additionally, Scotland is easily accessible from all corners of the UK, and last minute deals are often available. You won’t need to scrabble around for your passport or to change currency, and, as a bonus – if you are a beginner you may find it reassuring to be instructed by someone who speaks your mother tongue. All the resorts are well set up with a variety of accommodation and plenty of options for dining out. Safety is paramount at all Scottish ski resorts, and if you are unfortunate enough to suffer an accident you can rest assured in the knowledge that there is free medical evacuation from the slopes available to all.

The storms that have been battling much of the UK over the last few weeks have had one welcome side effect. Recent snow falls in Scotland have been at record levels as a result of this extremely strong weather system, and more snow is forecast to fall over the coming weeks, particularly on the upper slopes of resorts including Glencoe and Cairngorm. With temperatures dropping still further, it is likely that this snow will last considerably longer than average - which can only be good news for skiers.

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