Redemption at Glencoe: Day 4

First POW turns of 2020

Things hadn’t gone to plan with the weather with less snow sticking than hoped. What’s more I discovered I’d forgotten my JetBoil stove, having packed a bag of noodles for camp meals at the Coe carpark. Many thanks by the way for the offers of kettles and stoves! Coe really does have the best community. Anyway having driven back from Fort William the evening before I’d spotted some signs of snowfall. When I woke on Saturday morning I was pleased to see some fresh had indeed fallen.

Cliffhanger chairlift at Glencoe
First Cliffy ride of the season

Today the Cliffhanger chair was running so as soon as I got myself to the top of it I took the short walk to the top of the Wall. There was indeed a fresh loading of snow and looking down on it was loaded. The Wall is prone to small slab avalanches and today looked like it had just enough fresh windblown snow sitting on icy patches.

looking down to the Wall
Sunlight catching the top of the Wall

The snow on the wall was highlighted by the morning sun that was breaking through. I did chat with some of the other guys there. Having discussed the fact that it could slab, I couldn’t help sinking that if someone was to slash a big turn on the Wall, it would have made a cracking photo, maybe not worth it though. The turns down the Wall were though. Intermittent icy patches didn’t take away any enjoyment of the floaty turns in heavy wind packed powder patches. In fact, I told myself there and then, that those turns alone had made the trip worth it.

lots of snow
A closer look at the snow on the Wall
A grand view of the Plateau area

That Wind again, but it won’t beat the Coe

The Cliffhanger chairlift also gave easy access to Mugs Alley, which still needs some of the deeper part filled, but the snow that was in there was fantastic. Sticking to the fence line I made turns down powdery snow and small pillows all the way back down to the bottom of the lift. Corrie Pollach also had some great snow in it.

Coire Pollach ski tow
Coire Pollach had great snow too
The Cliffy in action

Despite it being Saturday, with a good turnout, there wasn’t too much in the way of queuing. Until the wind struck once again and put a stop to the Cliffy chair. Time for a lunch break. I grabbed a hot drink and something to eat while waiting. It didn’t look like the wind was going to abate though. After chilling out for a while and taking some photos, I spotted the groomers working on the Wall T-bar uptrack. This had not ben running, and as far as I knew, there were no plans to. Not too long after this though I noticed a small group waiting at the bottom of the T-bar.

piste groomers
Working on the T-bar uptrack

Was this just wishful thinking? Of course not, the guys at Coe manged to get the Wall T-bar turning allowing continued access to the best snow. I’ve never seen the Wall so busy. The snow it turns out was pretty well consolidated and it wasn’t long before the powder from earlier was well and truly tracked out. I spoke with a few first timers to that part of the mountain. Everyone was having a blast thanks to last nights new snow and the hard work on the lifts.

The Wall T-bar up and running
Skiing down to the Wall

Can I make it 3 in a row?

The plan is to head up on Sunday too. It looks like it may be a bit warmer with a possible inversion. Could be cloudy, could be sunny, but no new snow to speak of. Plenty of area to explore for early season though, and it looks like I’ll get my first set of three consecutive days riding this season. Make the most of it if you can.

Ski Tow Gulley
Eyeing up Ski Tow Gulley
mountain cafe at Glencoe
Sustenance from the cafe
Buachaille Etive Mor
End of a great day