Glencoe mountain resort

DAY 10 OF THE SCOTTISH SEASON 16/17 

Dawn on Sunday  morning was a cracker. The deep orange light streamed through the rear window of the car. Once again the skies were clear above and the day ahead promised to be a scorcher. It was around 6° at the car park level. As I ascended on the access chair the temperature didn’t drop that much. The bottom of the plateau was getting muddy, but the Poma uptrack was holding together for now.

The whole middle section of the mountain is now looking more like early May or June, rather than March. Luckily it wasn’t too busy as the majority of visitors were all in Main Basin and Happy Valley.

Conditions were very similar to the day before and if I’m honest it was a day for relaxing alternating between Main Basin and Happy Valley and sunbathing at the summit or the cafe.

I’d had four consecutive days snowboarding during the worst season in memory. Taking photos, editing in the evenings and sleeping in the car, wearing the same old snowboard gear each day. But today proved that it was still worth the season ticket. It had payed for itself in the end. Although I’d squeezed every opportunity out of this mild, so-called winter, having the season pass pushes you to get out and do more. If I hadn’t got a season pass this year I probably would have skipped a few of the days and in the end would have been lucky to get 2 or 3 days snowboarding. At the end of last year’s amazing season I’d bought myself a new snowboard, it never came out of its wrapper and I trashed my spare early season board after a few visits, but what looks like it might be the last day snowboarding made it all worth while.

I’ll take minimal coverage and a trashed board over no snowboarding at all. 10 days is no more than a good holiday, but better than nothing. Maybe next year I’ll plan a holiday though, just for back up.

Glencoe Mountain Resort

Ski-Scotland snowfestDAY 9 OF THE SCOTTISH SEASON 16/17

It looks like my season lift pass will pay for itself after all, with consecutive days of fair weather and snow on the hills. Another beautiful day dawned on Saturday and I made good time up Loch Lomondside. I was in the carpark before 8:30, plenty of time to grab something to eat in the cafe before going up the hill.

Glencoe Mountain had been promoting the Snowfest activities  which would involved a mass descent down the hill. The Haggis trap, usually a tight squeeze of a gully had been pisted wide to allow plenty of traffic.

The sun was splitting the sky so it wouldn’t be long before the frozen areas would soften up. Main Basin and Happy Valley were the focus of my attention for most of the day. The Wall however, continued to offer great sport with buttery soft snow leading down to the cafe.

On stopping for lunch, I couldn’t help but sit back, relax and soak up some rays. Its been a good run of days and it felt like late May, with temperatures soaring and blue skies.

I’d brought my camera gear up the hill, dslr and lenses. Usually I just carry my point and shoot Canon Powershot G16, but I thought I’d try to capture the Mass of skiers and snowboarders make their chaotic way down the slopes. It wasn’t to be though, discovered everyone at the summit waiting to go and my gear was still at the rescue hut. I decided instead to make use of my Contour HD action camera and see what I could cobble together. Ski Scotland were streaming it live on Facebook anyway, so hopefully they would get plenty of coverage.

The idea was to be kilted, topless or both. I felt that being behind a camera absolved me of this, at least thats what I told myself. The descent itself was meant to be a procession, but it looked more like carnage, with the odd body wiping out  every now and then. Everyone looked like they were having fun though.

A second trip down to the cafe resulted in another extended sun bathing session. Some of the staff even brought up some beers on the back of the Argo and set up a temporary bar adding to the super chilled atmosphere.

After a couple more thigh burners down Happy Valley I worked my way through the mud and rocky terrain to get to the Plateau run and return on the Access Chair.

It had been another cracking day and I hope to get up tomorrow for day 10. I made my way down to Tyndrum and edited together the short video while sat in the carpark of the Green Welly Stop. Dinner would be fish n’ chips across the road at the Real Food Cafe, which is where I’m typing this now (and uploading the video to Facebook).

Roll on Sunday for more Sun, snow, mud and rocks!

Glencoe Mountain Resort

Over the back of the summit of Meall a' BhuiridhDAY 8 OF THE SCOTTISH SEASON 16/17

I had driven back from Fort William following a large truck all the way the through Glencoe itself and shortly before reaching the resort witnessed the aftermath of a collision with the afore-mentioned truck and one of the resident red deer population. From behind the truck I didn’t have much time to avoid the carnage and long story short, the next morning the mudguards and wheel hubs had venison jerky stuck to them.

Having spent the chilly night in the car, I woke to an orange sun in the south-east and sparkling summits with blue sky backdrops.

It was going to be a cracking day. I grabbed some breakfast and took the access chair before 9:30.

Glencoe Mountain Resort ticket officeThe snow had held up. The uptrack for the access Poma was solid. While traveling up the plateau I could see the piste bashers sitting up near Happy Valley, preparing the slopes for the day’s visitors.

Happy Valley it would be. The guys had linked the upper and lower parts of the run by piling in snow from somewhere. The groomed piste, although narrow at points was the best of the day. It was good to crank up some turns finally.

Happy Valley at Glencoe Mountain ResortThe sun stayed out and the sky was blue. Temperatures felt warm, but the snow was holding out, which is just as well as the weekend looks like being a busy one. The top t-bar up track was softening later in the day and was narrow among the rocks near the top, but ski patrol were busy shovelling snow to try to improve the experience.

I stopped for lunch just before 12 and had the latest cafe delicacy of a chicken tikka pie, it was awesome! 10 out of 10 lunch.

After lunch, I mixed up Happy Valley with a couple of choppy runs down Main Basin and Ski Tow Gully. As long as yo keep your wits about you and look out for rocks, the sport is pretty good…the best of the season in fact. Not saying much, I know, for what has been a poor winter.

I ended the day with Spring Run. The walk along the summit path distracting me for a while with the amazing views over Rannoch Moor and the Black Mount. At the top of the Springy you have to walk over some icy rocky stretches, but once on the snow it was pretty good. More than can be said for Mugs Alley and the route to the Plateau return.

The guys are working hard to get things in shape for the weekend, filling in muddy patches and covering rocks where they can. They did a great job with Happy Valley, so I hope the weekend is good to them. And, if I do get up Saturday and Sunday, then maybe I can claim that this year’s season pass has been worth it after all.

Strange clouds above Clach Leathad

Ben Nevis covered in snow