Ski Mountaineering

20130326-155552.jpgSki mountaineering is pretty much my ideal activity. It combines the joy of getting a bit of exercise in some extremely beautiful places, with the exhilaration of zooming back down-hill through untracked wilderness.

It also means that when you have reached the top of the hill, most of the hard work is behind you and you just have the sheer joy of trying to stay upright while your skis disappear under snow and start catching under invisible vegetation. “Watch out rock!” lifts right ski leans dangerously to left “arragh patch of dead bracken” swerves worrying to right “ aayyiiiiiieeee big drop full of snow” lands right in the middle of it up to neck

The trick to ski mountaineering in Scotland is finding a place where you can get at the snow without having to carry your skis miles and miles. Glencoe ski area and Nevis range are pretty good places to partake of the sport, especially when it is shut for skiers, as you can still get the lift up one-way and play about on the snow without being bothered by official skiers. Admittedly, rounded mountains near a high pass on a public road are the best and, for that, you need to head east – Creag Meagaidh (Craig Meggie) or further east to the many rounded hills of the cairngorms: Drumochter and the Slocht are both high passes on the A9 and the car park at Cairngorm mountain is a perfect start-point.

A rather amateur video of the decent from a lovely skitour we did up Creag Leacach in Glen Shee, in beautiful spring snow.

The Highlands have so much to offer to the ski mountaineer, but I have to admit that my favourite ski mountaineering day was a sneaky morning out from Glasgow on the Campsie fells a couple of winters ago, skiing from the road and back in time for lunch with the kids.

Useful Links

Mountain weather forecasts

Avalanche reports

Ben Nevis Webcam

Glencoe ski area Webcam

Nevis Range webcam

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