Day 32: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain resort

I’d spent the previous evening in Fort William where the temperature at sea level was around +15º degrees. This did drop to around +3º degrees later at the car-park at Glencoe Mountain Resort. What would the snow be like on Sunday?

The Buachaille beyond Coire Pollach
The Buachaille beyond Coire Pollach

Conditions on the hill

I awoke to strong directional sunlight. The Buachaille was being illuminated by the rising sun and it felt crispy enough to realise temperatures up the hill should have stayed around zero overnight.

Once up the hill the snow felt way better than it had on Saturday afternoon.

mugs alley
Mugs Alley groomed up all nice

Cover is still 100%, the mountain remains cloaked in white. The morning sun felt warm and even when the high cloud obscured it, temperatures gradually rose. Visibility was good all day, although a bit overcast and just a touch of mist in the afternoon on the summit.

The groomed lines were fast and even off the groomed line, the snow had crisped up and rode pretty fast up until lunch time when things started to get a but sticky.

Views from the Haggis Trap
Views from the Haggis Trap

From the top

Main Basin and Happy Valley remain a constant, although becoming ever so slightly bumpy. I found myself once again being enticed way out to the West in Etive Glades. Still a quiet run, the wide open snow field slowed towards the end and you had to make sure you cut high to the top of the Wall.

I decided my third visit to Etive Glades would be the last as it was just too slow by the end. Riding this slower snow actually tires out you legs more than normal.

I moved my attention to Rannoch Glades running down the central part of the  mountain. If you stuck to well trafficked areas it would lead you on to the steeper aspect above Mugs Alley.

On occasion I would cut high and instead of going through the Rock Garden I would cut across to the middle section of Spring Run. Although a bit bumpy you could keep your speed up a bit more.

Main Basin
Main Basin
Follow the track to Etive Glades
Follow the track to Etive Glades

Taking the Spring Paper led me into strange porridgy snow. The old powder snow that had been saturated. This made for large marshmallow like lumps that were great to turn in as long as you had momentum.

Back in the Rock Garden I fell victim yet again to rocks. Not once, but twice in one run. Snow cover still remains better than ever, but, this is a mountain. There are always rocks hiding just below the snow. I wouldn’t mind, but this was on my newer Box Knife board. I’ve given it a good scar, just to remind it.

Not just carving

The Box Knife 154 is shorter, a touch wider and more flexible than my Phoenix 157 (Both Lib Tech boards). This means it should help me get to grips with some freestyle riding. I can ride switch slightly better with it. Maybe because its camber is more forgiving and the twin tip and tail both have an early rise, reducing the chances of catching an edge.

The tip profile is blunt, this should make tripods and presses easier. What doesn’t help are my tired legs and weak arms. I was trying out tripods, the first of which worked out fine. As time went on however, my right arm would collapse. I think I need to do more squats and push ups! Still its good to try something new.

Hiking Meall a'Bhiuridh
Hiking Meall a’Bhiuridh
Rainbow beyond Rannoch Glades
Rainbow beyond Rannoch Glades

Still No Queues 

It was a fun day, chatting to other regulars and jumping straight onto the lifts. I still don’t fully understand where everyone is going, but all season, even at weekends, there has been nothing much in the way of big lift lines.

summit views
Views from the summit
Rainbow from the bottom of Flypaper