This winter has not been a classic for skiing. The snow has been unreliable and there has not been very much of it. There have been some very good days though and today was one of them. After a good amount of fresh snow at the weekend Ian and I started our Scottish Steep Skiing week at Nevis Range. We did a lap of The Goose to get a feel for the snow which told us the snow felt very good indeed. A smooth cover of grippy fresh snow on the smooth old base meant we were carving turns all the way down.
Ian has done a lot of skiing over the years and has been into the back corries of Aonach Mor a few times as well. We went down Winger Wall to see how we got on first, talking about how to approach the cornice, assess the snow and find and the best snow for skiing. We made a really nice run down and I took the first fall of the day, losing my ski to a long slide dowen the slope as I did so! We had to boot back up a bit to get back onto the traverse line around to the front of the hill again. The traverse is all on snow to Rob Roy and most of the way back to the gondola from there with a couple of fundred metres of walking to Alpha.
Next up was Yellow Belly for a steeper run and more of a drop in over the cornice before our third lap of the backs down Easy Gully. This is a step up with a bigger and steeper drop in followed by a narrow gully for 50m or so before it opens out into the coire. Once you are in it feels fine but looking down from the edge of the cornice is really quite intimidating. The first run is always the most challenging! The snow in the gully was brilliant and the run down to the lochain was really nice too. So, a great start to four days of steep skiing and a good enough forecast to give us hope for some more brilliant days to come.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.