Sports | October 29, 2017 9:00 am

Full Kilt: The Backcountry Skiing Badasses of Scotland

Outside magazine searches the Scottish Highlands for a snowbound adventure.

Scotland is known for a lot of things—Braveheart, haggis, bagpipes, Alexander Graham Bell—but one of those is not skiing. In fact, it’s hard to even imagine finding snow on the island nation. It has just five ski resorts, all in various degrees of financial disarray—mainly because there’s not enough of the white stuff to go around.

But according to Outside magazine, Scottish snow exists, and “the backcountry [skiing] scene is exploding” there. The scene stays afloat via social media groups like Facebook page British Backcountry (8.7K members) and word of mouth, and has been bolstered in recent years by higher-tech gear. “[Backcountry skiers] are very easily pleased. I think the aspirations are fairly low,” Keith Geddes, a longtime Scottish ski coach, told Outside. “I’ve skied a lot of places, and it’s I think fairly unique just because of the weather. The choice is either get on with it or don’t do it, and the not-doing-it thing is just not conceivable, really.”

Ironically, winter temperatures in Scotland are only on the rise, so the chances of having a snowy patch to ski are getting worse. But the Scottish are nothing if not resilient. There is a certain bloody-mindedness to some Scots,” David Torrance, a prominent national political commentator, told Outside. “The more they’re told not to do something, or told they can’t do something because it’s impossible, the more they want to do it.”