Since opening in 1989 the reputation enjoyed by Nevis Range has grown by the season. As the newest centre with major financial investments behind it, it has had to try harder to attract skiers and boarders. It has a lot going for it. On a clear day the scenery is a match for the Alps or the Rockies. From the steep pitch of the Nid Wall you can see for miles up the silvery lochs of the Great Glen and down Loch Linnhe. Set on Britain’s eighth highest peak Aonach Mor, the ski area looks across to Ben Nevis. With 35 runs off 11 lifts there is potentially some good skiing for all abilities when the whole area is up and running. Although there are some good beginner areas, including a short plastic dry slope, the majority of the terrain is well suited to intermediate skiers and boarders. Nevis Range staff are enthusiastic skiers and they have lead the way in Scotland in pursuing new levels of customer service, and the resort personnel are generally smiling, friendly and strive to help. Advanced skiers and boarders have some of the most exciting skiing and riding in Scotland in the back coires which drop off the back of the summit runs. Some of the runs over here hold snow well into May. The nearest accommodation is just at the foot of the main access road, at Torlundy. Otherwise the nearest town is Fort William which is seven miles down the road. Fort William is a year round tourist gateway to the West Highlands. A regular stopping point for summer coach tours much of the local area is more attuned to quick fix tourism than an alpine resort environment. Still, Fort William may lack character and has an uninspiring pedestrianised main street, but it is improving and there are some reasonable pubs, restaurants and coffee shops.
|Opens||Dec – April|
Nevis Range’s six seater modern gondola accesses the Snowgoose restaurant and main ski area. The only drawback of this is when winds are strong there can be no access to the slopes. Otherwise the scenic ride up in the morning is usually a pleasure – and it is little wonder that the gondola’s summer business reputedly outstrips the winter visitor numbers. Lifts fan out in all directions from this level. There are a clutch of short beginners lifts just by the upper gondola station. Intermediates can walk and ski across the access traverse down to the fast quad chair which accesses the lower sections of the Snowgoose gully. Above this is the Goose T Bar which links in to the short Summit poma. The Goose run itself is the area’s snowsure solid intermediate staple. The first pitch is quite steep and often bumped and rutted by traversing intermdiates, thereafter it flattens out into a decent blue. Off the Quad chair there are a choice of relatively straightforward blue runs and a couple of snowboard and bladers’ fun parks. Warrens is another good red which runs down the upper ridge next across from the Goose. Early intermediates and progressing beginners will use the Alpha and Yockies which are to the left looking uphill from the top Gondola station. The wonderful back coires area is served by the Braveheart Chair which should be more reliable this season after autumn upgrade and repairs. There are no fewer than five different red rated entries into Coire Dubh and two stiffer drops: Chancer’s and Yellow Belly. Even when the lift is not running over here it is possible to ski out all the way round the mountain to access the Rob Roy’s Return run or the Great Glen access chair. The other great descent for advanced skiers is the Nid Ridge and Nid Wall which are accessed from the Summit lift via the Lemming ridge, or off the top of Warren’s lift. They are very short by Alpine standards but genuine black run steepness. The perennial theme prevails at Nevis Range – when it’s good and quiet with fresh snow everywhere it offers a fabulous day’s skiing. When the cover is marginal, the weather inclement and the queues long there are better things to do. The runs are now all well linked for varying abilities and the centre have worked hard to ensure there are alternative link routes and uplift when, for example, the quad chair is off. There are three restaurants, cafes or snack bars on the mountain. The Snowgoose restaurant at the top gondola station offers a reasonable menu of basic hot meals, hot drinks cakes and pastries and snack rolls and sandwiches. There is also a separate bar area and also a small souvenir shop. At the base station there is a smaller café and a creche facility. Ski and snowboard hire is available down here. Nevis Range ski school offer a full range of lessons in skiing and snowboarding, as well as telemarking and by arrangement run guided tours into the back coires and off piste.
|Accommodation & Apres Ski|
The choice of accommodation covers the widest spectrum – from hostels and self catering lodges and cottages to the renowned Inverlochy Castle Hotel. There is no shortage of moderately priced hotel and guest house beds in the town of Fort William. The Milton Hotel has a leisure club and is handy for the road to the slopes. Otherwise there are caravans, self catering chalets and cottages and bed and breakfasts aplenty. At Torlundy there are a collection of lovely self catering apartments and a guest house which regularly gains good reviews. A few miles further north the village of Spean Bridge has more accommodation and is a fairly typical small highland village with a couple of hotels and more self catering lodges nearby. The Old Pines here has won many awards for their food and offers comfortable, well appointed rooms. Also by Spean Bridge, overlooking Loch Lochy the Corriegour Lodge Hotel has lovely rooms and their Lochview Conservatory bar and restaurant specialises in quality Aberdeen Angue meats, local seafood and fish, home baking and puddings. Crannog is a reported to be a good sea-food and fish restaurant on the loch front in Fort William. Otherwise the Nevisport restaurant above the Nevisport shop serves good, basic food and is a good haunt when the day’s skiing has been blown off. The Nevisport Bar is popular with skiers and boarders.