Day 1 of Scottish season 15/16. Well it’s been a long time coming. I’ve had my season pass since October and I’ve been itching to get on snow. December was the warmest on record and saw devastating flooding throughout the land. Christmas came and went with only a gesture of snow filling in some of the gullies on the higher slopes. So it wasn’t till almost the third week in January that Glencoe Mountain Resort and the other Scottish ski centres could really get going.
Saturday got off to a cold start. The carpark at the centre looked kind of full, but Angela in the ticket office didn’t feel it was as busy as it should be. Snow was down to the carpark, but only cosmetic. Up on the plateau, there was plenty for beginners and the new surface lift they installed over summer seemed to be doing the trick, giving beginners more room to practice. It also freed up Mugs Alley which is sorely in need of significant drifting and snow. The gully at the foot of the canyon is still pretty empty. This is usually flat. The bridge at the Cliffy is still poking through the snow.
The upper slopes were a different story. Deeper snow, with only the odd rock showing. Visibility, or lack of, proved to be an issue, as it was first day of the season, I hadn’t got to grips with the lay of the land in Main Basin. The odd surprise caught me out and I had a few tumbles. To be expected I suppose on your first few runs, using only the ‘force’ to guide you. The Wall t-bar was off, so that was a reason to stay high most of the day.
There was a friendly buzz going around and chats with strangers, all happy to be back on the slopes.
The weather remained cloudy high up, but no wind and temperatures remained cold. In fact the afternoon saw more snow fall which made getting out of the car park interesting. I found myself waiting for some poor sods, making their way up the access road trying to get into the centre while we were all trying to get out. They were sliding all over the place with about four people pushing the car from behind. They weren’t going anywhere so I got out and helped. This seemed to get things moving and I was out and on to a rather perilous A82. Heading south, things didn’t improve as Loch Lomond and Glasgow had been receiving snow most of the day. Despite being a touch treacherous, it did make the loch side look absolutely stunning.