Day 39: 2017/18 last uplift

Glencoe Mountain resort

It was finally here. 7th May had been marked on the calendar for some time as closing day. Glencoe Mountain Resort was the first Scottish ski area to open and the last to close.

I’ll leave it for a later blog post for a retrospective on possibly the best snow season in recent memory. There would be just too much to cover, from the bounteous weather conditions to visiting Olympians, it was all going off at Coe this season.

Plateau hike
Walking across the plateau
Corrie Pollaich

A shaky start

I’d taken Monday off work to attend the final day at Glencoe, the weekend had been better than forecast and remained dry with sunshine. Monday morning however started to take a turn for the worse around 8:30am with torrential rain passing through. After breakfast I sat out the worst of the rain in the car. Watching the sky and checking various weather apps, it looked like the heaviest pulses would pass just after  11:00am. So after listening to a podcast or two, it looked as if the predictions were correct and it started to dry up as I headed out to the chairlift.

Cliffy Chair

From the short walk across the plateau, I could see most of the top part of the hill. It was sporting a small cloudy hat which I hoped would be gone by the time I got to the top. Since the Wall T-bar had stopped, the upper mountain was accessed via the Cliffy chair.

The rideable terrain essential start from the top of the Cliffy chair, and the heavy rain had broken up some of the connected patches of snow lower down.

mugs alley
Mugs Alley

The main corrie of Main Basin was still in great shape and despite the walk across the rock strewn summit, Spring Run was wide and smooth. It was in fantastic shape for so late in the year. I did have a mishap at the bottom where I had to remove my board, lost my balance and fell back into a peaty, muddy puddle. Time for the jacket to come off! It was easily warm enough for a hoody.

Happy endings

As the afternoon progressed, sunny patches increased in frequency. The weather was at last improving for our final day of uplift. 

The fun factor goes up directly in proportion with the sunshine and towards the end of the day, most folk I spoke with didn’t want the day to end.

Main Basin
Main Basin

The snow conditions were holding up well and the lumps and bumps in Main Basin had been flattened. There were still plenty of little jumps around, off the uptrack and over the fences, of the rocks and among the little moguls forming below the Haggis Trap.

path to spring run
Summit path to the Springy
spring run
Spring Run

Happy Valley above the narrows was starting to break up but easily navigable with a slushy return back to the rescue hut where the short lines moved quickly, that’s if there was one.

Happy Valley
Happy Valley

By the end of the day, the sun was out. Was it really time to end this? I’m sure we can squeeze in a few more runs? I grabbed my bag for possibly my last run. Shooting down main basin I passed those coming up. Had I missed one more lift? Yes I had … ‘bugger it’, jump on anyway.

Looking back down the lift I could see a frustrated lift holding back a few others who thought they could make it up one more time. I’d snaked on the last lift on the last day. I did have a feeling though I would be taught a lesson for jumping on the lift, and indeed as I approached the summit, the crest of the hill, the lift was stopped. I was treated to a sarcastic cheers from those waiting at the summit for their final descent.

It was all in good spirits though. 

Summit Tow

With last goodbyes on the hill, I took my final run through Main Basin hitting a few wee jumps on the way before taking the Canyon down to Mugs Alley.

Bottom of Mugs Alley

At the car park there were goodbyes going on in the late sunshine. I threw off most of my wet, dirty and damaged gear and got into some fresh clothes before packing up the car. Now I have to find something else to do with my care time, and find new subjects to photograph.

I’d like to thanks everyone at Glencoe Mountain Resort. The work put in by ALL of the staff made it possible for us to have this magnificent season. And all those who call this hill, their local hill, you all make it a special place. Thanks to everyone who said hello and gave positive feedback on this wee blog and my Facebook page. Hopefully you’ll stick with me for future seasons, even the time in-between. 

I’ll be adding to the blog throughout the rest of the year. Maybe you’ll find it interesting, I hope you’ll enjoy my images, the reason it exists in the first place.

I hope you all have an amazing summer, and I’ll see you when the snow starts falling next winter. Maybe even before then on a hike up Meall a’Bhùiridh.