Day 1: Season 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain Resort 

The ski and snowboard season actually kicked of a week or so previous. The top of the mountain wasn’t ready and no base had really built up. But this weekend the temptation was too much. I had nephews’ birthday party to attend and evening party to attend also. Could I squeeze in a morning at Glencoe Mountain Resort? Of course I could.

The drive up was icy but beautiful. The temptation to stop on the way up was great, but I knew I’d have to queue to pick up my season ticket. The first and last time I’d have to queue at the ticket office this season.

It was buy, and people had arrived early. I was standing in line as 8:30am listening to people grumbling that the office or cafe hadn’t opened. It’s early season though and the centre staff I’m sure had lots on. The car park was being cleared and the main bus full of staff only arrived while we were queuing.

Once I had my season ticket, a scoffed a roll with tea for my breakfast, watching the rising sun touch the top of Buachaille Etive Mòr  and painting it rose gold.

Return to my mountain

The trip up the chairlift provided epic views across the white moorland below. The sky was blue and it was chilly, but no wind. I was excited to be back. Its been a long time coming.

First run was down to the start of the Cliffy chair on Old Mugs Alley. For a pre Christmas opening, conditions were OK. Its was looking white, but only the bottom half of the mountain was open so far. The cliffhanger chair was the farthest mechanised up-lift was going. So taking the single person chairlift I did a lap of Mugs Alley before heading down the plateau.

My legs were feeling good, although I wasn’t pushing things. Also tried a few switch turns before deciding just to get on with some basic riding to warm up. The snow was good, bit lots of drifting still needed to fill in the big holes.

The Plateau run was in fine shape, and early on it wasn’t too busy. That was until I got to the bottom, and had to join the large line forming from the access lift. Thats why the run was quiet.

I could have taken a hike to the summit for a longer run, but since I was here for the morning only, I decided not to waste time, but opt for a short hike below the rescue hut to the top of the ‘Wall’ where I did find some soft snow and nice turns. Picking your way between the snow sharks where Etive Glades meets the Wall offers great views across to the Buachaille to so I stopped to take some photos.

The top of the wall is steep with without a season of snow on it. Some rocky bands meant I had to be cautious but this slope provided some steeper aspects. It also included a little tumble, and a roll for me as I got caught out. No harm done though and I was heading backup the Cliffy.

Short and sweet

After more laps and photo stops I had to start thinking about heading home. It was starting to cloud over too so I decided to take ‘Rankin’s Return’ back to the access lift. The carpark run was open but I decided the chair would be easier and I’d survived my first day of the season without incident and I had those appointments later in the day.

I filled my coffee cup and made my way down the road. The scenery seemed to get more stunning as the journey progressed and the low light mixed with hanging mist was just begging to be photographed. I tried a few surreptitious shots from the car, but couldn’t stop of course.

Looking Ahead

The cold spell looks like its coming to an end with a thaw after the weekend expected. But fingers are crossed for a return of the snow to get the rest of the season truly underway.