Glencoe is go for 2009/2010

The news skiers and boarders have been waiting for and which those who believed kept saying would come. Glencoe is go for 2009/2010. grinning smiley thumbs up

Official press release…

A last ditch agreement between David Campbell and a group of snow enthusiasts headed up by Falkirk business man and self-confessed snow nut Andy Meldrum has assured the future of the Glencoe Ski Centre. Andy is an experienced recruiter, marketer, trainer and public speaker who built his current company, AM-Distribution into a successful international business with distributors in the UK and Southern Ireland.

Drawing on his early experience of teaching skiing and running his own outdoor centre at the Spittal of Glenshee, Andy believes that he and his team, with the support of the local and snow sports community, have the background and commitment to make Glencoe a successful, year-round, destination.

Andy is absolutely delighted to announce that the ski centre will definitely be opening its doors this season and would like to thank David Campbell for his patience during the necessary lengthy negotiations that led to today’s announcement.

Bobby Munroe, resort manager, says “this is really great news for Glencoe snow sports enthusiasts, for Scottish skiing and for local employment. We’ve got a lot of work to do to be open for the start of the season, but we’re all up for the challenge”.

Bobby Williamson, Glencoe ski patrol, who, in the background, played an important ambassadorial role to ensure that Glencoe stayed open, says “the resort with Scotland’s premier ski and snow board terrain and an enviable weather record has been thrown a lifeline”.

To promote the re-opening of the Glencoe Ski centre season passes are being offered at the specially discounted price of £250 (normally £300) until the end of November. For more details give Angela a call on 01855 851226.

In addition to plans for the development and improvement of the facilities for skiers and snowboarders, the new owners plan further development of the resort as a year-round facility; with new mountain bike trails (and bike hire), an adventure play-park, dry ski slope and archery range being on offer for the 2010 summer.

The café also plans to launch its great new re-vamped home baked menu within the next few weeks.

The new owners believe that the best way to safe guard and develop skiing at Glencoe is to explore the possibility of snowmaking to ensure that the centre is less dependent on the vagaries of the Scottish climate. “With this in mind we plan to have a number of weather stations up and running by the start of the season”.

“We have an uphill task ahead of us but with the support of the local community, ski clubs, ski patrol and you the general public, we are certain that we can not only safeguard the future of the resort but improve and develop its facilities.”

We look forward to meeting you on the hill this season.

Andy Meldrum

Sheiling AWS Live on Winterhighland

Our new AWS on the Sheiling Tow on CairnGorm Mountain is now live online, providing five minute updates of weather conditions at 2300ft (also 48hr graphs of temperature and five minute mean and gust wind speed).

This station is more exposed in all directions than the anemometer at the SSC Hut so will give a truer reflection of the wind speed on the lower slopes.

An additional station at 2800ft is hopefully going to be available by the end of November – this will provide real time data on conditions on the upper part of the middle mountain runs and be useful for gauging how wind might affect the mornings operations for those who need to hit the road early doors.

Just a point to bear in mind, in freezing rain or wet snow events followed by a sharp drop in temperature anemometers can freeze up – be dubious about completely calm conditions being reported if the forecast is anything but, to this end the weather stations should be used as one more tool for assessing conditions, not an absolute deal maker or breaker.

AWS Mounting and temperature screen

AWS Mounting and temperature screen

This weather station and the SSC one will server as  source of data for calculating the virtual snow making in this years fantasy lift league, visit the forum and select your lifts!! :)

A nip in the air greet’s new Sheiling Weather Station

After a very mild week for mid October with temps into the mid-teens even on the mountain, a change of wind direction to the North  overnight meant a decidedly chillier feel to the air today, even when in fact the temperature was around 5c -hardly Baltic by ‘Gorm standards!

Use the Force Alan...

Use the Force Alan... Installing an external 2.4Ghz antenna for the SSC Hut router.

So today’s instalment of pre season training differed from the usual coffee and cakes in the Ptarmigan in favour of the somewhat more strenuous task of lugging 2 sizeable rucksacks and one holdall of equipment, computer stuff, weather station, tools, drill, 2.4m of stud timber and a 7ft mast to the Sheiling Trainer Tow, oh and a foot long phallic symbol dressed up as an omni-direction 2.4ghz antenna for the WiFi router in the SSC Hut!

Today’s work was part of the effort building from the Cherished Uplift Fund to improve the understanding of climate/weather conditions on the ‘Gorm to help provide a base level to study potential routes for optimising snowsports provision under different climate scenarios. The first stage is to get more real-time weather data from different elevations on the mountain and the Sheiling Tow is the first of 2, possibly 3 new Automatic Weather Stations that it is planned to install for the coming season.

The second new station is a high end Peet Bros Ultimeter 2100 destined for the M1 Timing Hut at 2800ft, just below the cut off via Horizon Road to the 105 from the M1 RaceTrack. Work is currently in-hand to restore power to the timing hut, an effort which will not just allow the new weather station but greatly increase the flexibility for race operations on the M1 again (an effort to which £250 has been contributed to the cost of re-installing power from the Cherished Uplift Fund).

It is hoped to provide a third new station at the Camera Obscura, this will be at exactly the same elevation and a very short distance from the manual Met Office recording station, which will provide a check against the automatic stations. Also as the manual record goes back to the 70s at this elevation, after 2-3 years of data collection on the AWS with numerous readings an hour stored, it will be possible to analysis how this data relates to the manual station, and go back and reanalysis the manual data.

Sheiling Tow AWS installed

Sheiling Tow AWS installed

Combined with the existing SSC Hut aws at 2500ft and the Loch Morlich AWS at 1050ft, this will give a record of weather at 1050ft, 2150ft, 2300ft, 2500ft and 2800ft. The short vertical spacing on the lower half of the ski area will provide valuable information on the elevation and behaviour of temperature inversions on the mountain – a phenomenon that could have significant impact (positive and negative at times) on the potential for snow making in settled conditions in which wind would not be an issue.

There is a suspected firmware issue with the SSC router preventing functional WiFi – a further visit over the weekend to attempt to flash the router and reinstall the firmware is planned, plus to finish up a few odds and ends that need completed. All being well live real time data should be available in a few days.

A huge thank you to Alan Brattey (Olderalan) and Maryln for assistance today, plus Jim Cornfoot at CML.

Loch Morlich Weather Station

The Loch Morlich weather station at Glenmore will be unavailable for approximately the next couple of weeks as it has had to be taken down due to work being carried out on the building.

When it is put back into service it will be ‘hard wired’ to improve reliability and greatly enhance the frequency of wind readings and will like the partly replaced weather station at the Ski Club Hut on CairnGorm report a point wind speed at the moment the reading was taken, plus the five minute mean and gust wind speed.

Warren Miller Film Tour

This year’s film DYNASTY is a celebration of 60 years of Warren Miller films that reunites the generations. Winterhighland is bringing DYNASTY to Inverness, Perth, Aberdeen and Dundee. Tickets for our Inverness and Perth shows are already on sale.

Visit the DYNASTY page  to view the trailer and get details of ticketing.

A number of other towns and cities in Scotland feature on the Black Diamond tour, for additional venues and dates check out www.warrenmiller.co.uk .

A nip in the air

The first day of October brought the first dusting of snow of the approaching winter. While limited to the higher Munros, and just the summits by later in the day, October 2009 started with an early Northerly incursion like last year.

The first lying snow visible on the SSC Hut balcony showed up on the webcam on 3rd October last year and though it’s turned milder through Friday morning, cooler conditions are expected to return for the weekend. Though snow is likely to be restricted to the tops again on Saturday, the Freezing Level could be around Munro Level, so possibly snow at the SSC Hut on Sunday, just a day later than last year.

Over the past couple of weeks the ‘Gorm has taken on a much more noticeably autumnal colour, as shown in the photos below walking up to the SSC Hut. The pleasant afternoon gave way to a heavy sleet by dusk at the Ski Club Hut and it definitely felt like winter is getting near walking back down. Hopefully it wont be too long before the mountain glistens in a genuine winter coat. :)

Autumn colours on the 'Gorm

Autumn colours on the

Looking up Coire Cas

Looking up Coire Cas