Hello Glencoe 2023
Day no. 2 of my snowboard season got off to a much better start than yesterday. The weather was benign and there were clear spots in the sky.
At the car park I met up with Andrew thanks to a heads up from Chris (now an instructor at Glencoe). Andrew had a new Splitboard setup so I was going to pass on a few of the tips I’d found useful in my recent intro to splitboarding.
It was a cool morning and once we’d taken the access chair up I was pleased and surprised to see the new 3 seat Rannoch was running. The chairlift had recently received the go-ahead from the Department of Transport and had only bee open for 10 minutes. Despite the fact both of us were here with splitboards, looking for a bit of uphill practice, we jumped at the chance to take the new flying couch to the top of Mugs Ally. We took in a couple of laps on a frozen rain crust. There was the odd soft patch here and there, but yesterdays rain had set up hard through the night.
We took the Rannoch chair up again , this time we would transition to uphill mode for Andrew’s first Splitboard as ascent.
The groomer had been running up Mugs Ally so we chose a flat spot to prepare skins, poles etc. After a few tips on keeping the split skis in contact with the snow and putting your weight down through your heels, we set off up the groomer track. This provided the opportunity to test out the heel risers and of this aided or impeded uphill travel of various pitches of steepness.
Once we got the the Rescue Hut, the scene was very different to the day previous. The piles of snow on the upper mountain had transformed into a frozen surface that may well have been quartz. A piste machine had been down ski tow gully breaking up some of the surface into a shatter pile of dinner plates. Even with crampons this surface would be a challenge, to say nothing of the run back down. That surface would shake the fillings from your teeth.
We decided to turn around, transition to downhill, and enjoy the corduroy path we had just come up.
Taking another few laps on the Rannoch Chair, we did another split ski up to the top of the Cliffy chair, just for the practice.
We had arranged to meet Chris at the Cafe, so descended down where there was quite a buzz going on. Lots of visitors and sledgers enjoying the fast surface.
I bumped in to a few familiar faces. All looking forward for the season to come.
It was Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve, and I had places to be back in Glasgow. So after a run town to the Access lift, I said my goodbyes. Thee vending light was touching the tops of the mountains as the shadows lengthened and a chill descended. There was sue to be further snowfall in the night.
I wan’t sure if I’d make it up on New Years Day. I’d have to see how the head felt in the morning. As for today, short and sweet, but well worth it, especially the brand new lift! It’s amazing to see the hard work and investment going into making Glencoe Mountain Resort even better.