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Snowsports For those ready to hit the powder, Lochaber, the Outdoor Capital of the UK, is ground zero for winter sport. Fort William, Ben Nevis and Glencoe are not only some of the most scenic areas in Scotland, they offer outstanding skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing and mountaineering, with the highest peaks in Britain. Ben Kilner, who grew up in Scotland and competed for Team GB in the snowboarding at the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, agrees: ‘I love getting out on the Scottish slopes because Scotland’s mountains are like no other place on earth. On a good weather day the views up top are always amazing, the air is always crisp and clear and I always appreciate how lucky I love getting out on the Scottish slopes because Scotland’s mountains are like no other place on earth. I am to live in such a beautiful country.’ In an interview with VisitScotland, Ben described what makes Scotland’s winter sports so special: ‘Many of the mountains in Scotland are not quite like any other mountain ranges where you get spiky peaks. Instead you get nicely rounded hills and you can see plenty of wildlife such as white hare, grouse and the occasional stag. ‘ Ben continued: ‘The quality of skiing and snowboarding in Scotland is great because we are lucky enough to have fi ve mountain resorts to choose from. Nevis Range and Glencoe Mountain are always close to wherever you are in Scotland. We’ve had some great winters recently and snow conditions have been perfect.’ Fort William’s Nevis Range offers skiing and boarding up to 1190 metres, high to the mountain of Aonach Mor. Taking a ride 650 metres up in the gondola rewards you with stunning views, even if you don’t ski. Glencoe Mountain is the country’s oldest commercial skiing area, and remains one of its most popular, especially with daredevil boarders and skiers. Scotland’s resorts offer skiing and snowboarding for everyone from the wobbly-kneed novice to skilled sliders. Each resort has a skiing and snowboarding school and beginners are advised to book lessons through the ski schools in advance. Ben’s advice to people new to the snow is to be patient: ‘It takes a while Ben Kilner before you can get around the mountain and I had a few bumps and bruises before I could direct myself where I wanted. Once you can get around willingly then the fun starts! Scotland has plenty of beginner slopes and fi rst timers are welcome at all the resorts. When you see someone ripping around the slopes remember they were a beginner at one point in their life too! Don’t be afraid to take on the challenge.’ Visitors to the resorts are advised to check weather conditions before they leave home on the Ski-Scotland website www. ski-scotland.com. Snow Sports 12


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