Day 5: 2019

Glencoe Mountain resort

It turned out quite a few people had set their sights on Monday at Glencoe. The forecast had been favourable earlier in the week and I like many had marked it down as a day off work. Monday was my third consecutive day and as I awoke in the car park, it didn’t look good. A grey sky hung low, hiding the surrounding mountains. It was 4 degrees, a bit warmer than the previous mornings and there was an ever so light threat of drizzle.

The car park was filling up too. It looked like it was going to be busy, for a weekday at least.

Since I’d missed dinner the night before, I was eager for breakfast, so after a quick roll and a cuppa in the cafe I made my way up the access chair.

Conditions on the hill

While traveling up the access chair it started to snow lightly and the sun was doing its best to burn through. The weather wasn’t as forecast and after checking a couple of weather apps it looked like there would be a bit more cloud than anticipated.

The snow in the morning was firm and fast. Taking the wrong side of the fence, I ended up at the Cliffy first, rather than aiming straight for the Wall T-bar.

By the time I was at the top of Mugs Alley I was dismayed at first to see the top T-bar to Main Basin wasn’t running, a few skiers were turning away. I tried to ask passers by what the story was, but nobody answered. As it turned out it looks like they were preparing the uptrack. I could see groomers up there and by the time it did open, it was beautify smooth compared to end of day previous. So worth the little delay in the end.

Groomers in Main Basin

The groomers had smoothed out some of main basin too. You had to take care though, as there were stepped levels running down the basin and they would catch you out of you were taking them at speed.

Main Basin
Main Basin

Ski Tow Gully had been good the last two days, but today it was pretty firm, not quite the powdery fun it had been before.

The snow was firm from top to mid mountain and was holding up well after such a busy day previously. I’d switched boards today to my Box Knife, which handles the chunder, or chopped up chunks of solid snow which were abundant. Spring Run was also holding up well, although there were some ruts, the softer stuff was collecting in the gully.

The Path to Spring Run
The Path to Spring Run

Happy Valley comes good after a good pisting, it felt like this was the case today. For the first time this season I felt I could turn up the speed here. The lower half becomes more of a banked slalom with berms and bumps. Great fun, especially as the day went on the sun started burning through and doing its magic on the snow.

Snowboarder in Scotland
Top section of Happy Valley with Main Basin beyond.
Happy Valley
Lower down Happy Valley

The earlier forecast at last started to come true. The temperatures started to climb and everyone was commenting that they had too many layers on.

I stopped for a late lunch and something to drink. Once back out on the hill, the snow was really changing to spring snow in parts. 

Sunshine at Glencoe

Etive Glades, beyond Happy Valley was suggested, so I went and gave it a go. From half way down Happy Valley, you can cut left in to Etive Glades, avoiding the boiler plate top section. The sun was doing its stuff on the lower part making it great fun. You could then circle round onto the back of the Wall. Good to have Etive Glades ticked off the list. It’s only really Rannoch Glades, The Flypaper and East Ridge that remains ‘to do’ this season.

Etive Glades
Lower half of Etive Glades
Views from Etive Glades

By the end of the day I could feel my face tingling. I had forgotten the suncream. It wasn’t a bluebird day by any means but definitely had that feel of spring about it in the afternoon.

Monday was the perfect finale to three days snowboarding at Glencoe. It felt like a wee holiday was done by the time I drove back down the road to Glasgow.

There is word that next Friday may bring more snow after a week of drizzle. Let’s hope the snow pack isn’t affected too much. I’m want to get a few more of these long weekends done before the season ends.