This is a story which began back on Saturday 28th November 2009, opening day of the 2010 season on CairnGorm Mountain. A winter that saw phenomenal snowfalls, the biggest season since 2001, with the Ptarmigan Tow making it into June and a final fling with rope tows in the Ptarmigan Bowl (and almost 1000ft vertical in the Ciste Gully) on the Summer Solstice.
With lift access for the Solstice, the opportunity for a July ski with large snow fields was an irresistible alternative for the traditional mid summer hoof to the remaining snow. Why stop with July, there was still snow in August and the challenge was obvious, firstly to mark the epic 2010 season by skiing 12 consecutive months on CairnGorm Mountain, then to get the full calendar year of 2010. That was ticked off with an epic December as 2010 went out as it had began in a big freeze.
Back in the mid 90s including the epic 1994 season, Richard Eccles from Nethybridge managed to notch up 34 months of skiing in Scotland - that run finally came to an end after a final month of jump turns on the end of a rope on a steep patch in a remote coire in the heart of the Cairngorms. No one has been known to have skied more consecutive months in Scotland.
Our criteria was different, just a requirement to ski with linked turns on natural snow and only on CairnGorm Mountain. When March, month 29 required a walk up to the remaining snow patches on the back of the 'Gorm and the narrow ribbon on the upper third of Coire Cas (skillfully sculpted into a rider cross for the RedBull 50/50), the prospects of matching the 34 looked hopeless.
Then the snow came back, 17 powder days in May, the full top to Daylodge vertical being achieved in May also and today the Ciste Mhearaidh has more snow than 1st August 2011. Great spring snow to ride, very hard underneath. Dare we dream of month 35?