Day 30: 2017/18 Powder Thursday

Glencoe Powder Resort

This report is running a few days late. Sometimes I do have a social life away from the slopes. Not often, but sometimes. They say too much social media can be bad for you. It certainly doesn’t contribute to your work ethic. When Glencoe Mountain Resort posted on their Facebook page that they had 50cm of fresh, after a bit of humming and hawing, I filled in a holiday slip. I wasn’t going to miss this Thursday with a prediction of no wind and sunshine.

Powder Turns at Glencoe
Tracked out Canyon and Crossover

Condition on the hill

I’d passed through fairly heavy snowfalls in Tyndrum on the way. When I arrived at the ski hill, the sun was trying to push through the mist on the mountain. For a Thursday morning, the car park was heaving. I was there in plenty of time though and with my season pass, I was one of the first up the access chair.

Even the traverse across Mugs Alley felt unreal. The popular mid-mountain piste had been groomed, but it was so deep, I could feel the snow beneath my board give, like wind packed powder.

The sun was coming through, although a slight mist hung at the summit. It was warm in the sun, but the snow temperature remained cold. It was bright with no wind to speak of.

Cliffhanger Chairlift
Cliffhanger Chairlift
Looking towards Beinn A' Chrualiste
Looking towards Beinn A’ Chrualiste

The excitement was palpable, bodies rushed for the lifts. The Wall T-bar took you enticingly through untouched powder fields. I couldn’t wait, so I jumped off and took my first cruise down the Wall itself. The powder was lighter than anything I’d experienced at Coe. It felt like you were just falling through the snow, with only the slightest resistance.

It wasn’t long before I was back up and aiming for the top of the hill. When I got to the top t-bar, it was closed! They were still digging it out. I was told it would soon be up and running. So I decided to take a run under the Cliffy. It was a Cheshire grin inducing, short, but steep run in prime condition. 

Skiers and snowboarders were blasting down the Canyon, the Wall and anywhere there was untouched snow.

It was heaven.

Top Half of the Mountain

Once the summit lifts were turning, the top of the hill was the place to be, now that mid mountain was tracked out. Main Basin was shredded, bursting full of light snow and beaming snow skiers and snowboarders.

I did give the Springy a go, but it wasn’t as good. Still a bit lumpy, it hadn’t held on to the fresh for long. The East Ridge and Flypaper were a ‘no-go’ according to ski patrol.

Spring Run Glencoe
Spring Run

I’d shared a lift up with Christopher who had asked if they were open. We decided to hit Etive Glades instead. And holy crap, was it good. It wasn’t the fine powder we had earlier, but wind packed goodness that stretched way out to the left. It tempted you towards the spectacular Buachaille, but you had to stay high enough to make it round the back of the Wall to the T-bar. We went straight back to do it once again, and we launched off wind-ups, landing in the soft snow, while trying to avoid the rare, but ever-present snow sharks. The tips of rocks that wait underneath to bite your board or skis.

Etive Glades was the place for me, so I returned yet again, joining Conor (off-duty lifty) and his family briefly for another amazing shred down the western side of the mountain.

Etive Glades with Sron na Creise in the background
Etive Glades with Sron na Creise in the background
Looking down Etive Glades
Looking down Etive Glades

My enjoyment was not even tempered by a rather large gouge I received to the base of my new board. I’d manage to repair it before the next visit.

In the Afternoon

The snow stayed in good shape in the afternoon with some runs down Mugs Alley and of course more in Etive Glades. I didn’t stop for lunch as I was going to have to leave early, around 3:00pm to meet friends back in Glasgow. So I kept at it until it was finally time to pull myself away.

I decided against the car-park run. Although it was perfectly possible, I didn’t fancy damaging my board even further. 

Etive Glades await
Etive Glades await
Powder at the foot of the Wall
Pow Day

Despite it being one of the busiest days I’ve seen all season (and the best). The lift lines were still nothing to write home about. With the whole mountain open and everyone spread out, it felt like any other weekday. 

So keep your eye on the Glencoe Mountain Facebook Page. It could get you in to trouble with your day job, but life is for living. I wouldn’t have missed this day for anything.

Meall a'Bhùiridh from the road
Glencoe Mountain or Meall a’Bhùiridh from the road

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