Day 5: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain Resort

I spent the night in the car ready for another great snow day on Friday at Glencoe. The Glencoe digger and piste basher were working through the wee hours trying their best to clear the car park and access road. I had breakfast while waiting on John who’s driving up for his first day snowboarding in a long time. It soon became obvious though that the snow overnight had made conditions on the access road tricky and the cars were queuing along the A82. John texted me to let me know he was at the turn off. However it would be about 45 minutes before he got up into the car park. It wasn’t till after 11 we got up the hill.

Jonathan covered in snow

The Dark Side

The winds were a bit gusty once we got up the mountain. Unfortunately this meant the Cliffhanger Chair would not run for the whole day. We got ourselves up the plateau to discover that the Wall T-bar had stopped for a while so we decided after a few warm up runs to go for the Dark Side. A black run that takes you back to the car park.

It was a fun ride down the side of the large waterfall that run don the mountain. The snow was excellent and we got a few nice power turns in before the steeper, trickier terrain where there were a few tumbles wherever the snow gave way to heather.

The visibility was better as we descended towards the bottom cafe where we decided to grab coffee before taking the access lift back up the mountain.

Continued Snowfall

Show flurries continued to pass through and visibility degraded as the day went on. The wall t-bar was back on and we made our way to the summit and took a run down happy valley. All runs are complete and the mountain is looking as good as it has done for a long time. Most of the rocks are covered and gullies filled. Flypaper remains closed due to avalanche risk and I didn’t try the Spring Run. Visibility became close to zero towards the end of the day we decided to make for the lift down.

Coire Pollach tow at Glencoe

The Final Push

John had decided to stay for the following day as the weather was forecast to be sunny and with the epic snow. It looked like an amazing day was on the cards.

We decided to pop in to Fort William for something to eat. However, the snow was falling and only seemed to be getting heavier.

Fort William was clear and after dinner our return to Glencoe and Rannoch moor was met with intense snow fall. The ploughs had been out and the main road itself felt ok, bit the snow streaking onto my headlights was very disorienting.

We made it to the access road for the resort around 10 at night. There were cars traveling up the road in front, as we drew closer we raised they had stopped.

The driver of the car in front of us came out to explain that the bright spark driving he van up ahead had decided to attach his snow chains while still on the access road. This was not a wide road and has passing places. We were waiting 10-15 minutes before the car in front attempted to squeeze past the van. It started sliding and soon we found ourselves, along with others on the road, pushing the car. We were getting soaked in the heavy snow as we put our weight into the vehicle, eventually getting it up to the car park. Next we had to get behind the van itself. It was hard going, but eventually we got that up and onto the hill.

Driving up behind the van had left us on an incline and when it came to me to get the car up the hill I found myself sliding to the high side of the road, despite four-wheel drive.

I had to reverse and give it another run. With the help of everyone behind, I eventually made it myself up onto the car park. I pulled in beside Johnathan’s car which had sat there being covered in more and more snow.

We chilled out watching a movie on the iPad and wound down from the exertion of pushing the cars. I had a pretty good sleep in the back of the car that night, but the traffic kept coming. People were arriving all through the night, being pushed, towed and manhandled up the access road. Everyone knew it was going to be a cracking day on Saturday.

Glencoe chairlift in heavy snow