Don't know why all you folks are raving about the conditions on the 'gorm just now, when the conditions at Mar Lodge Ski Centre (near Braemar) are bangin' at the moment!
2013 will see the 50th anniversary of the opening of what was then the Mar Lodge Ski Centre. The two T-Bar tows have long since been moved to Glenshee, and all the snowmaking equipment (then the most extensive in Europe) removed. The remnants of support anchors and foundations still lie on the hillside, and the hint of old piste lines can still be made out in the summertime. 44 years since the closure of the centre (i.e. this year), we carried out a summer site-visit to inspect what was left. Seeing the old piste lines - with one in particular, that was cut prominently through the 'Maple Leaf' forest - inspired me enough to know that I had to return in the winter to experience the area 'properly'.
Today, that opportunity arose. The snow was deep - up to my knees lower down, and to my upper thighs at times towards the top. This was bad news for the pooch, who ended up resembling a sheep! Since all the snow fell straight down the runs on the open hillside far exceeded my expectations, but unfortunately the lack of drifting meant that the main 'tree run' didn't have as much cover. Nevertheless, a combination of the deep snow and the fact that the centre closed in 1965 meant I had the luxury of first tracks and powder turns right across the hill!
What an introduction to Mar Lodge. But I can't help but wonder when the slopes of Creag Bhalg last saw skiers, or when they next will.
Got a pile of photos up here (across 2 pages):
Here's 2 of them:
Laying fresh tracks from the top of the old Red T-Bar (now the Cairnwell T-Bar at Glenshee). Heading for the tree run
About to exit the main tree run at Mar Lodge, heading back to the open hillside
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 14.00hrs Sun 27 Dec 09 by Jamie.