Day 11: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain Resort

A Saturday after significant snowfall means an early start. So I was up at 5:00am to get ready for pickup an hour later by Jonathan. We made it in plenty of time. There was already a queue for tickets by 8:30am, so as Jon waited in line, I got breakfast from the Ossian Cafe.

This being day 11 at Glencoe Mountain Resort, means my season ticket has paid for itself. Not having to stand in line is just another added benefit.

Looking towards the Cliffy Chairlift
Looking towards the Cliffhanger Chairlift

Conditions on the hill

I’d checked the weather, and Saturday was only looking marginally better than Sunday. Mostly because there was lots of new snow on the hill.

The drive up Loch Lomondside had been through torrential rain and I was doubting the forecast I’d read. I needn’t have worried though. The snow started falling around car-park level (just over 1000 feet/300 meters).

The heavy snow did affect visibility on the slopes, but the it was more than made up for by the volume that had covered all the runs, including the runs down to the car-park.

There was some wind, but just enough to re-distribute the snow. Temperatures were just below zero. Every now and then the visibility improved with a parting of the clouds, revealing the wind packed powder around the mountain.

And, despite being a Saturday, the lift lines were pretty much none existent.

Mugs Alley
Mugs Alley and Coire Pollach

Mugs Alley

Both of us needed a warm up, so Taking the Cliffy chair, we did a couple of laps of Mugs Alley. Occasionally crossing under the bottom of Thrombosis to grab the stash of softer snow. On piste it was well packed firm snow. Excellent where groomed. Along the almost buried fence lines were pockets of powder to play in too.

To finish off the Cliffy laps, we took a line under the chairlift which provided fine steeps and life affirming powder turns. A small run but you get such a buzz from the turns it provides. You don’t want to fall here as you have an audience. An audience that is even closer than usual due to the height of the snow under the chairlift.

Upper Mountain

We took the Wall T-bar and Top T-bar to the summit where Main Basin held soft windblown treasure. Before it was chopped up you could fallow the lift back down in the mist and cross over to Ski Tow Gulley. Riders left of the summit tow provided a little stash of fresh powder that brings you out behind the rescue hut and immediately back on to the lift, so long as the lines are not too long. Occasionally, there was no-one there and you could hop straight back on.

Happy Valley was firm under the windblown and when the visibility cleared we turned into Etive Glades which had soft snow all the way down to the face of the Wall. This has to be one of my favourite runs. Various mellow gradients with the best views in Scotland.

Etive Glades and the top of the Wall
Etive Glades
Glencoe Rescue Hut
The Rescue Hut

Later in the day

After lunch the were less and less clear spells. After a few more laps of the top part of the mountain we decided to wind down and ride the Cliffy chair in the heavy snow.

We rode Rankin’s Return down to the Access Chair where we were ‘persuaded’ through pier pressure and a cocky lifty to ride our boards all the way down to the car park. We succumbed and despite old tired legs, we strapped in again and started down the red run to the car park. Looking out to the East, we could see lots of people aiming to the Weasel track. So we cut across the mountain to join up with the trail, named after the old vehicle that was used in the construction of the ski area back in the day.

Rannoch Moor

The track is a narrow , but snow-covered switching back on itself several times.

Lower down it gives amazing views towards the Glencoe Valley. As we got near the bottom, it got softer, browner with a few little rocks mixed in. It proved to be a fun run after all. Hope I get more chances to ride it this season.

What a day. On the hill by 9:00am and finishing with the last lift at 3:30

Views from the Weasel track
Views from the Weasel track

Kinder Egg Challenge

Results from the third round of the Kinder Egg Challenge did not go in my favour. I tried keeping mine in my leg pocket, where I thought it would remain intact. Unfortunately at lunchtime we compared eggs and mine was in pieces. Jonathan’s egg was cracked, but more intact than mine. That makes it 2-1 to me.