Snowboarding has started: Day 1

Glencoe Mountain Resort

The 2019/2020 Winter season has at last kicked off for me. The weather has had ups and downs for the last few weeks. We hoped the end of November would bring cold temperatures. The mountain froze, but it wasn’t to last. The snow returned to the West in the middle of December, delivered on blustery winds and falling onto sodden hillsides.

moon over mountain
The moon over Buachaille Etive Mòr

The winds delivered though and with only a few days of snowfall and plenty of drifting Saturday 14th of December was announced as ‘Opening Day’. Unfortunately the winds had something different in mind.
I arrived to be warned I wouldn’t be getting up the hill today, instead I collected my Season Ticket and ordered lunch from the cafe. Instead of snowboarding, I watched the webcams show white out conditions on he hill and the shapes of a few brave souls who had made the effort to hike.
Later, I’d visit Fort William for dinner, then return for the night, ready for Sunday.

Frozen car park
The frozen car park
First access lift of the season

A New Dawn Fades

Sunday lit up with quite a few extra centimetres of snow. The clouds continued to deliver through the morning with increasing frequency. The wind continued to redistribute the snow across the mountain.
Only the mid mountain had lifts running. The Plateau Poma and Coire Pollach. Mugs Alley and the upper mountain still need a bit of depth, but Mother Nature was working on that.

SKi slopes
Looking up the mountain

Conditions on the hill

There was plenty of depth between the fences and apart from the odd tussock of grass poking through on the plateau, I needn’t have bothered with my ‘rock board’. The snow was great quality and not a rock to be seen or heard.

Poma lift
The Plateau Poma

Since terrain was limited, I set about practicing switch riding alternating riding backwards and forwards, getting my thighs back after a summer of doing very little.

I have been running all summer. This may help with endurance, but snowboarding really does use muscles that seem to lie dormant during all other activities.

ski touring
Ski tourers heading towards Mugs Alley

Small pockets of sunshine blew across the hillside and visibility was generally good. There were no queues to speak of and again, a few hardy types made for the summit under leg power. I decided not to bother as the snow looked too deep to hike through and I was already sweating on the lifts in my new bib pants.

I’ve been harbouring a sprained thumb too, which doesn’t sound much, but its a real pain, trying to carry my board since I didn’t bring my bag up the hill.

skiers at Glencoe Mountain Resort
The queue for the Plateau Poma

I kept at it for a good few hours and as the afternoon set in, so did the higher wind speeds. This seemed to be having an effect on the Plateau Poma which eventually came to a stop. So, I took this as a sign and decided to finish up for the day while I was ahead.

It felt good to be riding again and it was nice to have a mellow day on snow as a warm up to what we can only hope is going to be a season to remember.

Views across the moor
Overlooking Rannoch Moor
ski slope in Scotland
Looking down the Plateau Run

A New Look

Oh, an as a P.S. to this story, I’ve got myself some new gear this season, which means the highlighter green jacket has been retired for a more earthy version. But If you spot the deer skull logo on my board or helmet, yes its still me, so be sure to say “hello”.

Here’s a little video taking a run down the Plateau Poma. Unfortunately I lost the screw for my GoPro pole. So its hand held. Nothing special, but gives you an idea of conditions on the day.

A little clip showing conditions on the Plateau last Glencoe Mountain Resort.