Glencoe is now open for the 2010 season with the first tracks getting laid down in 6 inches of fresh that fell over the weekend under perfect bluebird conditions. A day some doubters kept saying could never come has arrived, Scotland has a full house of ski areas open and what’s more it’s been achieved before Hogmanay, that in itself is something quite special as it’s more often or not into January before the West Coast can get up and running.
On Tuesday afternoon the fun came to a premature and frustrating end thanks to one moment of careless disregard for the uplift infrastructure and fellow snow riders on CairnGorm’s Coire Cas.
A rider jumped off the Cas Tow just before a Tower throwing the T-bar away, which rebounded into the tower, derailing the rope and damaging the sheave assembly on the tower. This would be a lengthy stoppage at the best of times, but with dusk rapidly enveloping the mountain it meant the end of play and no last run for those waiting in the Cas queue.
Such stoppages by day ruin the uplift capacity, create queues and detract from everyone’s day, thus it’s everyones job to do their bit to help keep the lifts turning.
- Don’t use lifts that are unsuitable for your ability level, consider the difficulty of terrain that surface tows pass through.
- Don’t practice on ski tows and pomas that are not intended for novices, they are harder to ride and falls can cause lengthy stoppages (Pomas are particularly vulnerable to derailments due to miss-loads).
- Don’t jump of moving T-bars mid-line (esp just before towers!).
- Don’t get on a lift without knowing how to get off! It’s your responsibility to know how to ride a lift safely, if in doubt about any aspect of a given lift please ASK or take a lesson.
- DO stay under the tow line on surface lifts. This is CRITICAL to preventing derailments in high winds, do NOT drift outwards with the wind.
- DO get off the lift at the correct point using the correct unload procedure for that lift.
- DO pair up on T-bars. One skier + one boarder is more stable than one single boarder or two boarders, esp for inexperienced riders. (Shout for singles).
BULL WHEEL UNLOADING:
- The majority of T-bars in Scotland are designed for bullwheel unloading. Where this system is in use there will be a flat get off area underneath the bullwheel.
- Decide which person will deal with the T-bar, the other person should push off on arrival to the unload area so not to obstruct the person dealing with the T-bar.
- Keep hold of the T-bar as the springbox goes round the bullwheel and until the T-bar has fully retracted (or as close to fully as possible) before letting go.
- Do not drop T-bars in the snow or throw them at the bullwheel mast, the swinging bar could cause serious injury to yourself or others and potentially severe damage to the lift resulting in a major stoppage.
- Tows are fitted with Emergency Stop Buttons at the Top Station. In the event of accident or thrown T-bar going over the line, don’t be afraid to use them – a controlled stop is a quicker fix than an uncontrolled one!
- Queuing is an art form here, not fastest, fittest or biggest first!
- Form multiple short queues, long windy queues waste valuable skiing space.
- As the first queue clears into the lift loading area, the second queue should move forward to take it’s place, the first person in the 2nd queue joining onto the end of the 1st. Repeat as needed.
SPREAD THE WORD…. Many skiers and boarders may be relatively unfamiliar with surface lifts and particularly the common bullwheel unloading uses on many T-bars here, similarly to the unique Scottish queuing method. Everyone can help educate other users here, politely and courteously point out some of the oddities of Scottish skiing that help everything go smoothly.
A second absolutely full house in Inverness’ Eden Court cinema with a 138 people watching Warren Miller’s Dynasty on the 15th. It’s been fantastic for Winterhighland being able to take the film to extra screenings that wouldn’t be possible within the confines of the UK tour, with a great turnout at all the showings and a fantastic party atmosphere.
Many £100s of free gear given away during the Intermission give-aways, if you missed out on something, better luck next year.
A big thank you to everyone who came along each night, I know the weather wasn’t exactly the best on some of the nights!! Also we’ve raised a bit over £400 for Disability Snowsports UK across the five screenings put on by Winterhighland, a very very big thank you and if you want to help Winterhighland raise even more money for a brilliant cause, look out for full details of the 2010 White Lady Challenge on CairnGorm Mountain, provisionally the final Sat of Feb and 1st Monday of March.
See you on the hills….
An absolutely full house in the Queens Links Cineworld on Monday evening as the Warren Miller film tour rolled back into town with Winterhighland, the manager got a bit nervous watching the seats dwindle but the queue still there, there were no spare seats!
A fantastic turnout and glad to report no repeat of the gremlins in the projection room that afflicted last year’s screening of Children of Winter in the Lighthouse cinema.
Big thank you for raising £110 for Disability Snowsports UK on Monday evening, the donations from all five Winterhighland screenings will be winging it’s way along with a final batch of White Lady Challenge sponsorship money after the final Inverness show on 15th December.
If you haven’t got your tickets for the second Inverness screening, don’t delay the first show sold out in advance and there’s only about 30 tickets left for the 2nd.
Having been spoilt by perfect weather and fantastic cover and surface conditions for so early in the season on Friday it was a bit more Scottish on Sunday at CairnGorm Mountain for my 3rd day of the season , with the wind ratcheting up during the day. However the visibility was often better than it was on Saturday by all accounts with some brighter spells. Drifting of what loose snow there was meant every changing stashes and surface conditions.
Top to middle riding on offer, that’s just a shade less than 1300ft of vertical from the top of the Ptarmigan Tow, pretty good for early Dec and having a base on the mid-mountain. While we did have top to Daylodge skiing on the first day open in Dec 08 after the maintainence shutdown, it was quite short lived with most of the early Dec days in the past few seasons restricted to the Ptarmigan Tow.
Was doing some work on Wed afternoon on the Glencoe Webcams and network. The SSC Hut computer is back online, but was brought back up too late to take any photos (as it was dark), but should be taking images from first light Thursday (fingers crossed!).
The Access 2200ft Camera is being re-configured to work with a different network configuration and it’s hoped to have it back on the mountain and updating within the next couple of weeks, all being well sooner.