Related Regions: Scotland, Highland

Cairngorm Resort Reviews

by: Ross Deuchar - 7th December 2010

  • 3
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 3Aprés Ski
  • 4Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Funicular Railway, Long Runs
Large Queues, Visibility unpredictable

Full review

Payment system badly managed. A typical example of how this country has no clue how to handle large volumes of people, however efforts to improve are clearly being made but this still not good enough and their system is not clearly advertised. We were told by a friend to bring cash so we did, when we arrived staff were directing people cash only to go to separate window with a short queue – sweet we thought. When we got to the front we asked for lift pass and hire and the lady rudely told us that this was for ticket only as if we were supposed to know and how stupid we were for asking. I politely asked for an explanation why because this didn’t make sense, no explanation was given and we were again rudely told if you want hire get in the other queue. Whilst in the other queue I asked a passing member of staff why we cannot hire ski in the cash only window and he explained that they need your card details to ensure you return them plus you fill in a form for hire so this would defeat the purpose of a quick cash only system – perfect explanation, why could the cranky old bag at the cash window not have told us that instead of being rude to us (I reported her too). So to beat the queues: 1 Buy and bring your own gear or hire in Aviemore before you get there. 2 Bring cash for your lift pass. 3 Book online (only for lift pass) pick up at rangers office. Booking on line sounds like a fantastic modern way to pay however it is seriously flawed, firstly again no ski hire is offered – why? You input your card details so that’s the gear insured – this clearly needs to change. Secondly the queue for the rangers office was small but the guy was taking like 10 minutes per person to serve meaning way slower than the cash queue so basically there is no benefit to book on line. Thirdly the snow gate gets closed regularly so if you book on line and its closed do you get a refund? – Nothing stated online. So we waited in the huge queue, an hour or so later when I could actually see the window I noted people have to fill in a form for hire. I watched as the cashier waited each time for people to fill it in, so I thought there should be desks and forms and pens on the way to the desk (like in airports) so when you get to the front the form is completed speeding up the process. So I went to the desk and asked if I could hand out some forms and pens to people in the queue. The lady was very nice and said that would be a good idea but unfortunately their forms are numbered and have to be input in sequence. Very frustrating my idea was sound this numbered sequence thing is clearly inefficient and needs to change. Another idea a mini cash machine. So many people just wanted a pass but had to wait in the hire & pass queue because they had no cash. Yes these mini cash machines charge you like £2 but compared to 2 hours skiing lost through waiting in queues a small price to pay. The companies that supply these machines make a huge profit with this; they would jump at the chance of installing one there. There you have it; I have no clue about running a successful business but believe I have just improved the ski centre operations in a few paragraphs. Why can’t the simpletons in management see this, in my opinion they just don’t care they think people have travelled this far so they will just have to wait and they are right; we do wait in the cold like total chumps while they sit back in their warm office watching the money roll in. Finally rant over. The hire staff were friendly and helpful, the skiing is actually quite good, snow perfect but visibility can be shocking and pretty unpredictable but hey – that’s Scotland for ya.

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