Ben Nevis Ski Weekend
Ben Nevis is one of Scotland's most famous winter climbing areas. But that's just part of the story, the mountain's famous gully lines are also renowned as "off the grid" wilderness ski descents. Ben Nevis and Glen Coe have recently seen a resurgence in ski activity as dedicated skiers seek to put some turns in on the UK's highest summit.
Off Piste Performance's Ben Nevis Ski Weekend is primarily a ski mountaineering weekend, where we choose the best lines to suit the prevailing conditions. Balancing ability levels with the search for good snow, we will aim to ski from summit or make descents of the mountains gully lines depending on ability.
Skiing in Scotland can sometimes be fickle, good quality descents being hard won but leaving a lasting memory. To maximise our time on the mountain we will make use of the Scottish Mountaineering Club's (SMC) CIC Hut on a self catering basis.
There are no lifts here and we will have to carry skis and equipment to the snow line before skinning or boot packing upwards. It's a case of earning our turns.
A trip to ski on Ben Nevis would suit intermediate off piste skiers who are starting to think about skiing steeper lines. The terrain gives us some good scope for variation on the easier angled summit slopes, with steeper gullies and corrie headwalls to suit most. Most importantly, you should have some experience of ascending in crampons and be prepared to carry you skis for a reasonable distance. As usual this the most important pre-requisites for this trip are the desire to try new things and visit a wilderness "off the grid" ski location. If you are not sure please email details of what you have done.
1 - 2 April 2017
The course will meet in Fort William, and you may wish to arrange accommodation here on the Friday evening. The Saturday night will be spent in the CIC Hut on Ben Nevis.
Maximum ratio of 1:4
Timings and Meeting Point
Nevis Range - 0830 in Pine Martin cafe at the bottom of the gondola. From here we will make our way onto Ben Nevis and walk in to the CIC hut, stashing our food and overnight gear to allow light ski sacs for the rest of the day.
To download the kit list for this course click here.
- 2 days guiding headed up by IFMGA Mountain Guide James Thacker, working alongside Andy Nelson (IFMGA Mountain Guide and ISIA) and Gillian Parker (ISIA and MIC) on hand for ski tuition
- Accommodation in the CIC Hut on a self catering basis for the night of the 1st April
- Avalanche safety equipment, transciever, shovel and probe (if required)
- Transport to the top car park on Ben Nevis
What's not included?
- Accommodation (if required for Friday evening)
- Food and subsistence (this is a self catering trip)
What happens if there is no snow?
We really hope for a snowy winter in Scotland but it is well known that the snow conditions can be unpredictable. In the event of there being no snow then a full refund will be given. However, if conditions are difficult then the option remains to travel to another area, or practice skills (skiing or mountaineering).
The CIC Hut is fairly basic, much like an alpine hut with sleeping platforms. As such a sleeping bag will be required and we will need to cater for ourselves. Water is taken from a pipe just outside the hut. The kitchen is well equipped with ovens and hobs fuelled by propane gas canisters. The hut also now features fully functioning composting toilets.
Scottish Mountaineering Club - CIC Hut Ben Nevis
James Thacker's blog post - Skiing on Ben Nevis