Day 27: 2017/18 with an Olympian

Where Else?… Glencoe Mountain Resort

Sunday morning, the clocks had sprung forward an hour. Yes, I slept in. Not bad considering that I’m sleeping in the back of a car. By 9:30am I was up on the slopes but without breakfast, damn it!

I needed to get up the hill though as Billy Morgan was making his flying visit to Glencoe Mountain Resort and I needed to get some shots for Coe to use.

I wan’t going to get lots of snowboarding done myself as I was also hoping to capture some action with the Scottish Freedom Series finals taking place over the back of the mountain from the bealach between Meall a’Bhùiridh and Creise.

Billy Morgan Big Air
A little sequence shot of Billy Morgan in the Glencoe Park

Meeting Billy Morgan, Olympic Big Air medal winner

In the park on the lower part of the mountain, I caught up with Andy who had just taken Billy on a tour of the upper mountain. There had been a drop of fresh snow during the night, making for perfect conditions. The park had been spruced up too and Billy was hitting the kicker and rails in Coire Pollach.

Billy himself stopped for a chat at the top of the park and I re-introduced myself so we could get some shots.

It must be said, Billy is very accommodating, a decent lad and had all the time in the world for the kids asking questions and taking photos.

Big Air Billy Morgan
Billy inspiring the kids at Glencoe

He admitted it was all still a bit of a whirlwind he was riding since his amazing achievement in the Winter Olympic’s first ever Big Air event in Peyongchang, South Korea.

Billy is really down to earth and I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that would let this go to his head anyway (from the brief time I spoke with him).

He also did a piece to video for me. as he is a POW ambassador, we managed a little message asking folk to sign up to ProtectOurWinters.UK.

Billy Morgan
Billy riding the Rainbow

Billy was scheduled to be at Nevis Range for lunch, so unfortunately he had to go after a few more group shots. He seemed genuinely disappointed to be leaving. I think he wanted to see the Freeride Comp happening later.

I hope he enjoyed Glencoe and takes the message with him that we have a great mountain here. Snow conditions are at their bet. The sun was out and there wasn’t any wind to speak of. A lot less than the Olympics had!

Scottish Freedom Series

After dumping the camera bag and getting in a few lines myself, I went back to the summit to find out what was happening. The Freeride final had moved locations a few times until it was decided to be held in the coll behind the ski hill. Dictated largely by the ski patrol and the ability to facilitate a rescue if needed.

I hung around the group briefing to find out what the timings would be and to work out a location for taking photos.

Scottish Freedom Series
Freeriders set off to compete

After trying the very summit, above the ridge they would drop in from, I went further away towards the East ridge of the mountain and found a rocky outcrop with a bit of an oblique angle.

It was tricky trying to follow the action at such a distance so I would go for more atmospheric shots.

Scottish Freedom Series
Scottish Freedom Series start point

While competition was going on I chatted away with Robbie who would normally be competing in the event, but had decided that he would rather film and ride instead.

Earning Turns

Robbie, who had been eyeing up face on Clach Leathad, spotted three tiny figures hiking up what looked like a vertical slope. Our attention turned away from the competition to the climb unfolding on the other side of the valley. The snowboarders had finished their runs in the comp, then decided to trek all the way up to the corniced ridge. They made good time trekking in each other kicked steps. Unfortunately as they neared the ridge at the top, another set of snow flurries came in and they soon disappeared along with the mountain.

Hiking Clach Leathad
After the competition these guys had other ideas
Hiking Clach Leathad
Hiking Clach Leathad
Hiking Clach Leathad
Under the ridge

The competition had wrapped up by now and the competitors had been towed out of the valley in one long chain behind the groomer.

Pisten Bully rides
Pisten Bully rides

I decided to pack up the camera gear, and walk through the snow to the top of Main Basin. With enough time to squeeze in a few runs for myself, I dumped the heavy bag and enjoyed the return of some end-of-the-day-sunshine.


I returned to the car park and cranked up the laptop and started editing the Billy Morgan photos. There was a possibility we could get the shot to the newspapers. Once the edits were done, uploading them was the issue, despite going with the faster broadband option, it took around 30 minutes to upload 10 files. But eventually they got out there. I doubt they made it to the papers though.

That evening and the following day, Glencoe and Ski Scotland had shared a good selection of my shots. Billy Morgan himself used 2 of my shots in his post about the visit too. I’ writing up this blog a couple of days after the event, as I didn’t get home till 9:00pm that evening and busy on Monday. But there you go. A busy Sunday and the end of another fantastic weekend at Glencoe. And, more snow is predicted this week!

end of day sunshine
End of day sunshine