Day 9: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain resort

Contrary to forecasts, Friday was sunny with little wind to speak of at Glencoe. Fresh snow from the night before and continuous drifting throughout the day was a recipe for lots of fresh snow and epic turns.

A few icy patches hid under and in-between the patches of grippy wind-packed powder.

ski touring at Glencoe Mountain Resort

Weekdays are the way to go

I’d booked a day off work as there was the slight prospect of sunny spells after snowfall on the Thursday night. There was also a danger of the snow continuing into the morning, so I was expecting the day to stay grey.

I did check my Weather Pro app the night before and it was showing clear-ish skies.

On arrival at Glencoe I was pleasantly surprised at the blue skies and sunshine that prevailed.

Another surprise was meeting Jane (an old work colleague) and her friends after I parked right next to them. I’d join them later for a run down and a coffee once the day finished.

snowboard on the Wall
The ‘Wall’ where I got early tracks

On the hill

I cut across to the Wall T-bar asap as I could see freshies beyond. I was still a bit cautious about my knee, and the hardpack was more comfortable than the powder. But who can resist the chance of fresh pow?

I got to the top of the T-bar and before even considering taking the lift to the top, I was strapping in above the Wall. I wasn’t the only one with this idea. Several others joined me and it was a race for first tracks.

I wasn’t quite first, but followed another snowboarder down the face, taking a slightly higher line so I could grab the steeper face and back on the lift.

As the group congregated at the T-bar, we buzzed excitedly at just how good that little run had been.

windslab avalanche on the Wall at Glencoe
The face of the ‘Wall’ showing the tiny slab avalanche

Needles to say, a slashed my way down the Wall a few more times to make sure I made use of all that lovely snow. One run I took, resulted in a mini avalanche as a small slab several inches thick broke away. As I ran parallel to the sliding slab the stuff washed my board from under my feet. I righted myself and made for the lift once more. I suppose, much like a fast flowing stream, it doesn’t take much snow to give you problems if it were a higher more exposed place for a slide.

Main Basin

I took the top lift from the rescue hut to the summit of Meall a’ Bhùiridh where the sun was glancing off the surface of the snow, a sign that Spring is round the corner when this side of the mountain receives sunlight for longer.

I was even more pleased to see just how loaded with snow the Main Basin was.

With the wind coming from the West North West, I knew Etive Glades would not be work trying. It would be wind scoured and icy. Instead I filled my boots with the epic conditions straight down the middle of Main Basin.

Main Basin t-Bar

Views across the Main Basin to Rannoch Moor

Haggis Trap (the narrow chute that leads back to the rescue hut) is still a bit awkward, so cutting through the Narrows onto Happy Valley I continued round to do more laps of Main Basin.

Spring Run is on form

After lunch at the Plateau Cafe, and a few runs down the great snow on Happy Valley my leg felt strong enough to try something a bit steeper. So, at the summit, I took the path to the Spring Run. It was very icy and proved to be the most difficult part of the day as my knee twinges at the thought of doing the splits on the slippery surface.

I took a few photos towards Loch Tulla before strapping in. I passed the ‘CLOSED’ sign at the top of Flypaper and continued down Spring Run. It was even, churned up powder with just the odd rock sticking out, but a fantastic steeper run. Best of all it didn’t bother my knee.

view over the back at Glencoe

Best day yet?

I was having the best of days, with sunshine, no queues at all and completely amazing snow conditions. There are some icy patched, but all in all, the resort has cover all the way to the top of the access lift.

I took a run with Jane and friends, leaving them behind for more laps at the top.

If I need a break I like to look over the back of the mountain to Loch Tulla, Stob Ghabhar and Creise, the neighbouring mountain.

The sun sparkled off the spindrift and illuminated the rolling clouds that were boiling over the hills to the West.

After more time on the higher runs, I decided at 3pm to aim for home, via the Low Road. The lower runs were a but more hard-packed and frozen, but holding up well.

Looking up the mountain from the Cafe to Main Basin

A promising forecast

The days to follow look like being snowy, I’ll forego Saturday, maybe watch some of the winter olympic snowboarding. It looks like it’ll be blizzarding at Coe so maybe head up on Sunday.

Whatever I do, it looks like conditions are improving for Glencoe Mountain Resort.

two skiers with Buachaille Etive More in background


summit rockssun on Glencoe