From the Top: Day 6

Storm Ciara delivers the goods at Glencoe

First of all, sorry for late posting. Sometimes life just gets in the way. It was well and truly put to one side however on Thursday 13th of February. Storm Ciara had delivered a dump of snow and there was a one day weather window all of us snow lovers had our eye on. There would be a lot of sick-days and holiday requests going in at workplaces up and down the land.

Chairlift at Glencoe Mountain Resort
Morning lift to the Plateau

The still weather also brought some freezing temperatures, and I had decided to drive up to Glencoe the night before to avoid the hustle and bustle in the morning. Arriving just before midnight, I tackled the access road, which was slick with black ice. I’d been warned and I saw my friends car sidelined in a lay-by (which he recovered in the morning after the road was cleared). As I crawled into the car park, I hesitated and the 4 wheel drive started to slide. I stopped, recomposed, then carried on and parked up for the night.

First time lift served summit this season

After a quick chat and breakfast with friends in their hobbit house, I made my way up the Access Lift quick sharp. Some lucky folk were already making their way down, and the Dark Side run to the car park was the choice of a few looking for early powder turns in the patches of deeper snow. I decided though that I wanted to get to the top as soon as I could. I was trying out a new board for the first time, so would be avoiding any ‘incomplete’ runs. The mid-mountain had filled in but the Cliffy was off for now so I cut across Mugs Alley to take the Wall T-bar up top.

Heading to the top

As I was dragged up the Main Basin T-bar, I ascended into the mist. It wasn’t thick and word was it would be moving away. So on day 6, for the first time this season I dropped into the Main Basin.

Having a Hyper Time on my Brand Gnu snowBoard

My new board (technically a 2019 model) It’s a Gnu Hyperkyarve. It’s camber and shape lend itself to power riding as well as cranking it up on corduroy. In other words it’s born to turn. It proved to be great fun! The snow in Main Basin was cold and consolidated packed powder. The large drift in the main corrie was nice and soft all the way down to Island Rock and Haggis Trap. Deciding to make a return trip to the top, I took Ski Tow Gulley down to catch the lift. This too had great snow and would be revisited several times before the day was out.

Main Basin T-Bar with awesome backdrop

Conditions around the Mountain

Other parts of the mountain had great snow too. Once you got past dome of the icier parts of Happy Valley, the bottom was soft and lead nicely to the top of the Wall, which I cut across the top of several times to make turns down the steeper aspect, down to the T-bar.

Views of the Buachaille

Queues were getting longer. Unsurprisingly considering everyone had been waiting for this day. They were moving pretty quick though and I found myself waiting no longer than 5 – 10 minutes at the most. There were no queues around Corrie Pollach, which I dropped by to catch up with a friend and his kids. 

The good news was that the Cliffy Opened up and took the strain off the other lifts around mid-morning.

Cliffy opened mid-morning

By lunch time the sun was skimming the top of the mountain and Main Basin was clear of mist. Views over the back were as stunning as usual. Still there was not  breath of wind, very different from the preceding days.

Looking up Main Basin

Taking the last lift up to the summit, we hiked across the top to Spring Run, another first for this season. The large drift of soft snow took up the left side of the run, with it dropping down to the right. There were early signs of some small moguls forming, but they were soft enough to bash straight through. Running out onto the Plateau, this made a great final run of the day.

Piste Basher in Scotland
Buachaille, Ben and Bully

The Storms Return

The forecast ahead is for a return to windy weather with Storm Dennis, some milder temperatures, but hopefully finishing off with more snow.

I will miss it though as I have a foreign trip planned, but hopefully, there will be something waiting for me on the mountain when I return. 

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