Day 37: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain resort

I wont even begin to explain my jealousy of everyone who made it up the previous weekend. I was gutted I couldn’t make it and experience the fresh snow and sunshine. I was being sociable though, spending time with friends down in Wales. I had to make sure I could make it for the last weekend of the season.

Glencoe Mountain would be hosting a mountain bike event which would include a mass descent. The MacAvalanche as it’s known, involves a hoard of mountain bikers all starting at once in some of the remaining snowfields of Etive Glades. This would be happening at the end of the day.


On arrival

Turning on to the access road at Glencoe I was surprised to see how full the car park was. As is usual when mountain bikers turn up, they have gazebos and other paraphernalia that fills the car park, so I went for the uppercut park which seemed to be host to skiers and snowboarders only. We would be in the minority today.

I had breakfast in the Cafe so was late getting to the lift and found it with a massive queue of bikers waiting to get on. They were being held back by organisers so I grabbed the chance to talk with the lifties and get on to the chairlift in front of the train of bikes. 

On the hill

Once up the access chair, I was reminded this is really the last weekend by the walk you now have to make across the plateau. The uptrack has finally melted, so a short warm up walk is needed now to get you to the Wall T-bar, or the Cliffhanger Chair.

melting ski slope
Mugs Alley is melting

I spent the day in Main Basin and Happy Valley with the odd run down Ski Tow Gulley . I didn’t bother with the walk across the top to Spring Run. I’ll try that tomorrow if its open.

I decided instead to opt for lazy turns in the granular spring snow, occasionally attempting sections riding backwards. Something I always have practice. I should be so much better at switch riding.

view from mugs alley
View from Main Basin

The snow was nice. No real surprises, unless you were lower down. On my way to the plateau cafe, I took the Canyon, avoiding the rushing waterfall under the snow to the left, the canyon is like a natural banked slalom, riding up the walls at the side, it was pretty fun. The ‘Bumhole’, the high sided ditch at the bottom of the Canyon is now broken up so you had to pick your line carefully to get to the Cliffy Chairlift where the snow ends.

The Canyon
Looking down the Canyon

After lunch it was back to Main basin for turns, spins in the soft snow. The weather forecast had not been that inspiring, but as the day went on, the sunny spells increased and being in the shelter of fairly brisk winds, the clouds didn’t really bother us in the north facing Main Basin.

Glencoe Mountain
Looking back up the hill from the Plateau Cafe

The MacAvalanche Mass Descent

Times seemed to keep changing, but the mountain bikers were now collecting together In Etive Glades so I slid down to set up my position for the start. 

It took a long time for the downhillers to push their bikes to the start. It was around 4:50pm before they were underway and I snapped the carnage as it unfolded. Some riders running through the snow, others attempting to ride their bikes. It did look like fun, but I’ll keep my board thanks.

macavalanche mass start
The Mass Start of MacAvalanche
downhill mountain bikes
Carnage ensues
Bikes in the mountains
Mountain Bikes pass Sron na Creise
a biker falls
More carnage

As the last of the riders disappeared, I packed away my camera and strapped in to return once more via the Canyon.

My own descent

I’d been riding all day with my left boot duct taped up, to keep the melting snow out. It did the job for most of the day, but I think standing around taking photos allowed water to get in at the end of the day. As I walked across the Plateau to the access lift I could feel the dampness of my left foot. Luckily I have spare inners for my boots tomorrow.

duct taped boots
Duct taped boots
boot repair
Boot repair