Articles

A day out on the hill

IBSC is all about trips out in the hills by ski or board.  It's best to think of this Club as a mountaineering Club by ski/board and the skills set required is a combination of that which the hill walkers has and the skier also.  

We discourage groups larger than six people in any one party.  If there are many people aiming for the same objective, they can split into smaller groups and operate independently of each other.

Each trip usually has someone organising it. That person's contact details can be found on the relevant page of the website. They act as a coordinator for the event and you should contact them (not the secretary unless they are the one and same) for any information or advice you need. 

The Club secretary sends out information by email usually on the Thursday evening prior to the day out. Information is also available on the website but not usually on Facebook. Those intending to come should consider what equipment they will require and they can borrow a transceiver, shovel and probe from the Club if necessary. See EquipmentIf you don't have a transceiver, probe and shovel already, borrow a set from the Club (contact the trip organiser). 

Make your packed lunch and look at the weather and avalanche forecasts online the night before. It's important that everyone avails themselves of the relevant information before any day out on the hill.  Snow conditions, quantity and location change all the time in Scotland. 

A typical day involves meeting at Tesco Inshes in Inverness about 7am or 8am depending on the time of year and amount of day light. A quick conversation about lift sharing and off we go towards the snow. Often people who don't live in or close to Inverness make their own arrangements or are picked up on the way.

Top-tip - if you know that you will use your skins early in the day, why not put them on your skis the night before and make smug comments to those faffing in the storm trying to get theirs sorted.

Once at our destination we aim to get going fairly soon without rushing. If we haven't already decided, we may talk about who is going where as there may be different aspirations, tours or too many people to make one large group practicable. It's all very informal and fun. 

Then we head up the hill either walking or skinning or using the lifts when we are starting at a ski area. There is no guide leading the party but naturally some people tend to know an area better than others and make general decisions about route choice. 

We might be aiming for the top of a hill and follow lines of snow up until the higher snow fields are reached. Once on the top, we might have to follow a ridge for a bit going up and down wee bits with our skins still on our skis. Sometimes we ascend steeper snow slopes that require a traversing line and kick turns. 

Or, the weather might dictate that we descend from a point when everyone decides they have had enough of the wind. Either way, at some point we go down which is the reason we came up to start with. 

Skins off, boots tightened and stuff prepared for the descent. We decide roughly where to go and go!

Some might be taking an easier line, some a steeper or more technical one or the snow may just force us to ski the burns and heather...

Once down, depending where down is, we might decide it was so good that we go back up and do it all over again. Or if we are on a tour we continue with our route whilst always keeping an eye on the weather. 

Getting back to the cars is always welcome and although we will be tired, we will also have lots of stories and memories. Those memories can be relived in a close by cafe or pub or later on the Club blog. 

Then, before you know it, you are thinking about the next trip. 

   
© IBSC