Possible Heli Skiing—In Glossop!! January 2010
Reporter: David Taylor
5th January 2010 - I couldn't get to work due to about a foot of fresh snow - Glossop was cut off, (some would say it should stay that way!!).
So with new deep powder snow on top of an already compact base layer, it was perfect skiing conditions. So decided to walk up onto Whitley nab, the hill at the back of my house, a hill that I know very well as I use it regularly for ski fit. It was a hard half-hour walk up with skis and boots, so took some time out at the top to catch my breath. I new the ski down wouldn't last long and I wanted to savour ever turn. I set off quite conservatively at first to get a feel for the snow and gradient (Red/Black at the top, and red/blue at the bottom) - the off piste ski down in fresh powder was absolutely brilliant, about 1000 ft vertical drop from the top to the valley floor. I new I had had a good ski down as I had a big smile on my face at the bottom.
Except for no lift up, the ski down was as good as the Alps - Better as no other skiers to contend with. Although I did ski down an access road and passed a 4x4 coming up the hill the other way - you should have seen the surprise on the drivers face as I skied passed him at 20mph!!
9th January 2010—Glossop was still in a deep cold spell, and the snow was still in excellent condition. I arranged with Dave Shepherd to go ski touring. Dave kindly lent me a pair of his touring skis and bindings, so once set up to suit my ski boots, we set off from my front door and headed off up onto Whitley nab. The walk up on touring skis was much easier with skins and a heel release compared to walking up in ski boots. This time we skied over Whitley nab, and joined the Monks road which was full of snow and only just passable with a 4x4. After about a mile, we left the road, skied up over fields and joined a footpath which led us onto Coombs Edge. The temperature at the top ws well below zero, and we headed into a very strong head wind, which made it equivalent to arctic conditions. We had a difficult steep pitch up onto the edge, where Dave showed me how to do kick turns, which is basically turning your uphill ski through 180 degrees, then transferring all your weight onto the uphill ski and then bringing your downhill ski round to make it your new uphill ski. Dave S was most impressed as I managed to do them for the first time on a steep pitch without falling over - Maybe it had something to do with survival!
The views from the top of Coombs edge were fantastic, almost a 360 degree panorama, including Alderley edge, Manchester airport, Manchester, winter hill, the hills above Oldham, Holme moss, Bleaklow, Kinder Scout and the White Peak areas, all covered in a blanket of snow. It was definitely worth the effort.
We then took our skins off and skied across the edge, crossed the monks road and onto Whitley Nab, this time we skied down a very steep pitch which made it more difficult due to lots of big clumps of long grass. Having survived this, we had another delightful ski down the Nab in deep light powder, then down the lane back to my front door. How often can you say you have skied in and skied out from your own house in England!!—If anyone is interested in building a ski lift and hot chocolate cafe in Glossop just let me know, it could be a nice little earner - we just need to divert the gulf stream first!!
We had a very memorable day, and many thanks to Dave Shepherd for introducing me to ski touring, something that I can highly recommend and hope to have another go—Probably in the Alps next time, where you can hire the equipment in resort, and mix using lifts with some skinning uphill without getting too tired, find some solitude and fresh powder—Can't wait.