If you want to go on a skiing holiday, you can either be herded like sheep onto a plane, packed like sardines into a family car for a long and boring drive, or you could get a train up to Scotland and sleep through the entire journey.

That’s the theory anyway, and the biggest draw for me when it came to the Caledonian Sleeper Rail from London to Scotland. You get on the train at night, collapse in bed, and wake up surrounded by the snowy highlands.

It’s not as luxurious a journey as they would like you to think mind you, even in first class. I can't complain about the service as the staff treat you like royalty, but it feels very odd when you’re sitting in a room barely more than two square metres in size.

The train is quite old and not for the claustrophobic holidaymaker. I wasn’t too bothered by this personally though as I got to pretend like I was an extra in a mid-1900s American train heist movie except this time with a lot more people wearing tartan.

The size of the bed I had slightly more issues with. My dream of essentially being cryogenically frozen until I reached my holiday destination so I didn’t have to stand in queues in airports didn’t really pan out as my 6’ 2” body struggled to find room lying down. They don’t have double beds either so if you’re with your significant other, the best you get is two connecting rooms.

If you want to go skiing though, it’s a legitimately fantastic option. You get off work on Friday, get the train at 9:15pm, arrive into Aviemore, just south of Inverness, before 8am on Saturday, and can be up the mountain by 11am with a pair of sticks strapped to your feet and a terrified look in your eyes.

Even if you’re a total novice and show up wearing nothing but jeans and a t-shirt, the folks at Cairngorm Mountain will provide you with everything you need, from the skis and goggles right down to a warm jacket and waterproof trousers. You should probably bring a thick scarf though if you don’t want your jaw to freeze.

The cost of renting gear will start to mount up if you’re staying for a week, but if you’re just there for the weekend and trying out for the first time, then it’s such an easy way to see if you like hurtling down a mountain with your only methods of braking being trying to contort your feet into this mysterious 'snowplough' position, or falling over. I was considerably better at the second method.

There are lessons you can take for all levels of skill, slopes of varying levels of difficulty, and a little diner up top when you need a break. The staff are incredibly friendly and mostly just seem delighted that they get paid to ski and snowboard.

If you want to go wild and buy equipment, Aviemore consists of roughly 500 billion winter sports stores so there’s enough competition that you won’t be ripped off. There’s also plenty of restaurants in the area, although make sure you book in advance for some of the more popular ones.

The one massive caveat to all of this is how weather dependant skiing can be. I have nightmares of people reading this review, deciding to book a skiing holiday, only to get there and be greeted by clear skies. Even when it’s snowing sometimes extreme winds can shut down the mountain.

Keep a close eye on weather forecasts for Scotland and if you see snow has hit or is about to hit the highlands, go and book that hotel and overnight train. Even then it’s no guarantee. There are other activities such as hiking and nature reserves, but most of them are better in the summer than the icy Scottish winter.

There are a number of hotels in Aviemore too. My natural inclination was to eye up the youth hostel or the American-style motel because I’m naturally cheap like that. The costs of going up the mountain to ski can start to build up quickly.

I did stay at the MacDonald Aviemore Resort Hotel instead, part of a fancy resort complex complete with cinema and swimming pool, but I’m not sure it's worth the money. The swimming pool’s boiler was busted so the pool felt like the Arctic Ocean, and our room key cards locked us out the room three days in a row.

If you want a quick skiing holiday though, I can totally see the appeal. Jump on the train late on Friday, ski for two days until all your joints ache, then take the overnight train back to London where you’ll arrive before 8am and not miss a day of work. Although if you’re like me, you’ll arrive in work incredibly sleepy because you couldn’t fit in that blasted train bed and the infernal squeaking of that rickety old machine kept you awake.

Still better than flying though.