SkiBike Tour 2009-10 - Nevis Range Day 3

Posted: Sunday, 10 January 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

The weather started to close in and was dominated by hill fog and winds. Once again I warmed up on the familiar "Far West" run. For the first time I had to swap gloves for leather sheepskin mittens to keep my hands warm and wear a fleece beanie for my baldy head.
Mittens, essential when the wind gets up
Having established this new level of sartorial splendor I was ready to concentrate on the day's activities. My experience with the T-Bar drag lift had shaken my confidence and left me with sore arms. As an alternative to going back for more I decided to investigate how I could ascend using the Poma tow.
As a whole decade had passed since my last experience of a Poma drag and with some apprehension I chose the Lochy Button nursery slope to start with. I left the skibike next to the lift attendants cabin and went up on foot skis alone, which was actually quite fun in itself, don't lean back too far!
Having got used to the take off on the Poma, I practised holding the pole with one hand a leaving the other free to hold the handlebars of an imaginary skibike at my side, no matter what I had to remain stable with just the one hand.
Once this became comfortable I advanced with the skibike alongside me, grabbed the pole, popped it between my legs and we were off, the skibike following at my heals like a faithful and well trained dog. You do have to be careful on the initial launch that the rear of the bike doesn't swing out and knock over the lift attendant though.

Having settled in I moved up the slope to the Alpha button which gave access to the "Yockies", "Alpha" and "Macpherson's" runs, some of which gave me the opportunity to practice on moguls and bumps.
At the end of the day I returned to my car with happy thoughts of the time I had spent on Nevis Range, the friendly and helpful staff, the no-nonsense unpretentious attitude of other skiers and for the bountiful snow and relatively clement weather.
Once changed I drove on to Aviemore for the next leg of my journey. I had booked a room at International Starers through Late Rooms it is a quirky restaurant that offers simple clean and basic rooms upstairs on a b&b basis. If the makers of "Friends" wanted to make a sitcom based in a Youth Hostel, this is what it would be like, i.e. nothing like a Youth Hostel! Quite trendy by my standards, but no frills. I really liked it and was to stay again in the future.

I wanted to see how 3 days use had affected the bike and to my surprise the manager let me use an empty dinning room, I spread an old blanket on the floor, turned the skibike upside down so it would rest on its handlebars and seat, then went over it with a fine tooth comb. The skis were still perfect, the rear shock absorber was holding pressure, everything was still tight except the mount for the rear ski which took an extra half turn. I was able to leave my kit locked in place overnight for the morning.

Not feeling particularly hungry, I had a pint in the bar, then went for a stroll to check out Aviemore. It has proper alpine resort feel to it, but with the convenience of a late opening supermarket along with a selection of typical high street stores. It is slightly pricier than other places in Scotland, but still good value.

Aviemore, so quaint - source