Over the weekend we headed up to Glenmore Lodge outside Aviemore to be part of the Black Crows Wild Ski Weekend ? an awesome couple of days of touring, testing kit, great food and late nights in the bar. The trusty Scottish weather did its best to disrupt the party, with high winds to contend with throughout the weekend, but 90 hardy souls made the trip north and were rewarded with some pockets of pow and the odd bit of sunshine to add to the mix. Luckily, our man Brodie Hood was on hand to capture the action.
For those of you that don?t know, Glenmore Lodge is a fantastic facility that’s been at the heart of Scottish mountain sports and outdoor activities for over 70 years ? providing first class training and experiences from their sprawling facility at the foot of the Cairngorms. It’s grown arms and legs since the early days, and has developed into a superb destination for anyone who wants to develop their skills while learning from the best in the business.
We arrived on Friday night to the warmth of the bar, to get suitably fuelled-up on a delicious but heart-attack-inducing Daemon Burger and a few pints of Cammox ale. There were movies to check out and plenty of banter to be had with fellow touring-minded folk, from first-timers to old hands. But ultimately, bed called at a reasonable hour for most, as excitement built for the day ahead.
Saturday was spent up Glen Feshie for the majority of the groups ? a comparatively sheltered spot where the high winds had deposited some of the fresh that had been scoured from the rest of the Cairngorm plateau. We joined a group of intermediate tourers and the Black Crows pair of Chris Booth and founder, Camille Jaccoux. The wind was enough to strip the skin off your face at times, but between the biblical moments, the sun poked its head out and? well? the photos probably speak for themselves.
Saturday night saw a slap-up meal in the Glenmore Lodge restaurant ? massive portions of delicious scran to refuel for the day ahead. Stories of the day’s challenges and successes were duly shared, before the night’s real action began to kick off. As house band The Nipples of Venus kicked into life, the volume went up, a fair few drinks went down, and there were one or two shapes cut on the dancefloor for good measure. The night ended with whisky, probably a little later than it should have.
While Sunday had looked like the day, when we were looking at the advance forecast, it unfortunately didn?t end up that way. Plenty of snow had fallen over night, but the cloud had come in, and the wind had increased in power. By 9:30 or so, they?d opened the road to the ski hill, so we made our way towards Cairngorm proper, to see what we could find. The Ciste gully seemed to be the best place to avoid the wind, and we were once again rewarded by a few clear spells and a bit of powder too.
Sadly, the hire car needed returning, and we were forced to cut short what had been a fantastic weekend all round. On the long drive back to Edinburgh we were encouraged by the conditions, which should lay the foundations for a fantastic spring of Scottish skiing. Black Crows have cemented themselves as the rock stars we already knew they were, and the good people at Glenmore Lodge reminded us why they?re such a well-respected bunch and so crucial to the Scottish scene. Here’s to next year!