Glencoe Massacre 2003

Waiting at Coe

This article was written the day after it was announced that the White Corries a.k.a. Glencoe Ski Area, was to be mothballed for the foreseeable future.

It was with great relief, that the decision was made to open ‘Coe’ for weekends. The first of which was glorious.

Glencoe is by no means safe, but fingers crossed, mother nature shall bless Coe with a white blanket for years to come.

Leading on to a topic for another article. How do we turn off the Gulf Stream?

On the 27th November 2003, just as the mountains had been dusted by the first snows of winter, it was announced to the public that the Glencoe Ski facility would be mothballed and would not be open for the coming ski season.

Of course on hearing this news there was initially a feeling of disbelief, shortly overtaken with what can only be described as grief.

Opened in the 50s, Glencoe Ski area is located on the 900m+ Meall a’ Bhuiridh in the White Corries, was Scotland’s first lift accessible ski area. It was here where I, and many others made their first turns in their chosen winter sport.

Hiring a beat up old asymmetrical alpine board with plate bindings and borrowed ski boots I fell about the ‘Plateau’ beginners slope until the irresistible lure of the Plateau Chateau’s roll and sausage would stop me for a break.

The mountain is only a ‘hill’ by international standards, however, with varying pitch, undulating twists, turns, gullies and steeps, there is an infinite variety around this little hill. Only one and a half to two hours from the City of Glasgow, Glencoe was the preferred destination, not only for me and my mates, but for most of the West of Scotland, even a few English and Irish accents would be heard on particularly promising weekends.

As with the grief experienced at the loss of a loved one, the next morning I awoke oblivious to most everything, no worries, only for that slow sinking realisation that all was not well with my world. On the 7.30am train to work, I spoke with a fellow commuter, at weekends a ski patroller at ‘The Coe’, we discussed a shared love lost. For him, he’d seen it coming I presume. I tried to dig for any sign of hope. “What if it’s a great season? What are the chances of Coe opening up again?” After all, it’s only been mothballed, packed away until better days. Sadly this was met only with a shrug and that look that a doctor would have when announcing “sorry, we’ve done all we can”. Even the free paper that morning carried the story of poor old Coe. At the first opportunity, I fired up ‘tinternet to find it was all official.


Update 2014

It should be noted that Glencoe soon re-opened and has passed through the hands of a few owners. It’s now fighting fit and embracing all-year round custom as well as snow sport, including mountain biking, camping, archery and other activities. You should visit.

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