As is tradition with most Scots, I spent my New Years Eve downing bottle after bottle of Prosecco, which of course meant that I spent the 1st of 2018 doing my best impression of a potato on my couch. This cleared the way for an early start on January 2nd, so me and boyfriend stepped over the threshold for the first time this year and headed straight to Nevis Range, near Fort William.
To put it mildly, the conditions were brutal. With wind gusts at 40mph and a pretty much constant blizzard of snow we were lucky to see more than a few feet in front of us, and let me tell you, no amount of runs in the snow dome can prepare you for that! Visiting the indoor slope frequently, I really thought my skills were improving, I would say I even considered myself to be quite good! One hour at Nevis Range and I felt like a complete beginner again, the button lifts were a battle of wills and the ‘natural hazards’ were a constant challenge. It took me four or five attempts to be able to ride to the top and even then I found myself accidentally falling into hidden rivers and ending up waist deep in snow.
When we finally made it to the top of the T-bar in the afternoon, suddenly it all felt worthwhile. Still with next to no visibility, we followed some skiers down the mountain, skirting over fresh powdery snow and picking up speeds I had never before managed to achieve. It felt incredible.
So incredible we decided to head back up again on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day with well covered slopes and plenty of pals to ride with. I found that I was thankful for my struggle earlier in the week, suddenly the button lifts and Tbar were a breeze and I was able to keep up with the team. It’s not often that you get great weather snowboarding in Scotland and it is a real treat when we do, the views from the top were stunning.
The day was only slightly impacted when the quad chairlift decided to break down. We spent just over two hours suspended in the Scottish Sky. Thankfully we had great chair mates, equipped with rum and tea and we managed to get Netflix running on the phone, yes, we literally #Netflixandchilled. After a while the team at Nevis Range had started an abseil evac and eventually the chairs started working again, although I have to say I was a bit gutted I missed out on the abseil! Back at base station the staff made sure we were warmed up and everyone was looked after, I really have to credit them for working so hard. After a hot meal and a cup of tea I was even able to get back out on the slope for a few last runs!
Has anyone else had this many nightmares with Chairs / Pomas / Tbars?! I’d love to hear some stories. I’d say it’s just all part of the fun of snow sports!