Friday 13th And all is well at Glencoe Mountain
I like many others had been watching this day with interest. A perfect weather window between low pressure systems with the promise of sunshine and fresh snow.
Travel north was a touch slower than I’d hoped for. As I arrived at Glencoe Mountain Resort just before 9:00am a small queue of cars was still creeping in to the busy car park. I think everyone who skis or snowboards in Scotland had turned up.
I quickly stuck on my boots, grabbed my board and helmet and went straight for the lift.
The sky was cobalt blue and the hill was plastered with snow, all the way down to car park level. I noticed some lucky snowboarder had left their mark turning down the Dark Side. I pondered on poaching this run first thing, but decided instead to aim straight for the top.
Conditions on the hill
I quickly made my way to the T-bars to the top. The snow was I’m prime condition, cold and soft on Mugs Alley before reaching the T-bar.
I hiked across the summit track to the top of Spring Run. I was thinking of doing the East Ridge, but as a couple of skiers crossed the top of Flypaper, which was closed, I heard the uncomfortably harsh sound of skis on ice. I decided to make the Spring Run my first of the day. Initially there were some icy patched, but soon I was on to dense heavy wind packed powder. Satisfying turns lead me down to the corner of Mugs Alley, I cut across Thrombosis, under the Cliffy and this was all lovely deep snow. An epic first run on this glorious day.
Main Basin remained in top form with thick powdery snow, kept in cold condition by the cool temperatures. At no point did it become too chundery. Although chopped up, it stayed soft throughout the day. At one point I did cross over towards Etive Glades to check it out, but I think I went too high and the ice and sharks put me off so I returned to Main Basin. I was later told there was actually some nice snow in there.
One of my favourites is ski tow gulley and this remained pretty quiet. Probably down to the fact there was a large wall of snow blocking the return to the top t-bar. Instead I carried on down under the Cliffy chair where once again the soft snow helped me feel like a much better snowboarder than I actually am.
The wall also provided some deep turns. Staying high then dropping down to the T-bar allowed for some powder sprays as you made your way to the lift line.
Good things come to those who wait
It must be said that the popularity of Coe on this bluebird day did mean that the queues were fairly lengthy. But what can you do? Get a tan and chat with the all the regulars and visitors who has similarly sacked off work this Friday.
All lifts were running apart from the top button, and they kept going all day, but I think the Eastern resorts may not have been offering as good conditions, so it was no-wonder everyone had made their way west.
Later in the day
As the afternoon drew on, the clouds started to obscure the sun. Temperatures started to drop slightly and the wind that had been absent so far, started very slightly to make itself known.
I decided in the flatter light to give Rannoch Glades a go. Right in the centre of the top part of the mountain, it’s often scoured by the wind, but I’d been told it was good. So I picked my way through the rocks and a few small icy spots before it opened up with perfectly smooth wind packed powder. Best of all, there was never anyone else on it when I was there. It seemed like a quiet little oasis. Saying that, the runs themselves remained fairly quiet, despite the numbers of visitors.
The afternoon light was a bit flatter, but with the epic snow it made little difference.
What about the weekend?
I’m hoping to get a few more days under my belt this weekend, but forecasts seem mixed. Fingers crossed the winds stay low enough for the lifts to run. It won’t be like the Epic Friday that was today, but there is a prospect of a bit more snow.