As the Scottish snowsports season gets underway, we bring you all the news, tips, resort guides and interviews you’ll need as you head for the slopes. New to skiing or snowboarding? No problem, check out our guide to starting out without breaking the bank.
Welcome to the Scottish Ski and Snowboard supplement
By ROGER COX
AT THE start of May, I received an email from Euan Baxter, assistant coach for the British Freestyle Snowboard Team and also a designer and photographer.
Ten days previously, a succession of late-season blizzards had turned the Cairngorms into a giant winter wonderland and Baxter and his friends, three time Olympian Lesley McKenna and Alpine ski coach Donald Hall, had taken full advantage, hiking to the top of Braeriach and skiing and boarding some epic lines in the crater-like Coire Ruadh.
“A very rewarding tour,” Euan wrote. “Here are some pics – hope you like ‘em.”
Now, I tend to get sent a lot of photos of people skiing and snowboarding – it’s one of the perks of the job. Trouble is, I’ve seen so many over the years that these days it takes something really out of the ordinary to get me excited. As soon as I started flicking through Euan’s Braeriach shots, though, I realised I’d been sent something special.
The pictures were mostly remarkable for what they were not. For a start they weren’t in colour, so there were no day-glo jackets to dazzle and distract. Instead of being drawn to a brightly coloured skier, the eye was able to focus on the whole composition – skiers and interesting rock formations got equal billing. And, for the most part, Euan’s pictures weren’t close-ups, either. The majority of images you see in ski and snowboard magazines are all about the featured skier or boarder – their trick, their ride, their athletic prowess. In Euan’s pictures, by contrast, the skiers were often little more than tiny black dots scrawling solitary lines on distant mountainsides. You couldn’t see their facial expressions or analyse their technique, but you got a much more powerful sense of the huge, empty amphitheatre they were playing in.
I was blown away by Euan’s photos, to put it mildly, but I couldn’t think of a way to do them justice – short of, say, setting up a dedicated Scotland on Sunday ski and snowboard supplement. So I emailed him back, thanked him for the pics and said I’d be in touch.
Six months later, and whaddyaknow? Scotland on Sunday has a dedicated ski and snowboard supplement, so we’ve been able to use Euan’s pictures in all their glory. You’ll find them here, alongside an account of the day by Lesley McKenna.
Elsewhere, the intrepid Cambridge family explain how they manage to pack in upwards of 60 days’ skiing in Scotland each year with the aid of their mighty mobile home; Banchory’s Olympic halfpipe snowboarder Ben Kilner talks about his preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi; and we preview the Coe Cup at Glencoe, which will be in the spotlight this season having just been made an official qualifier for the Freeride World Tour.
If you’re new to snowsports, we’ve got some tips on how to get started on a shoestring, and if you’re one of the many thousands of people who enjoy skiing and boarding in Scotland every winter, we hope you’ll use our in-depth resort guide to plan your next trip.
See you on the hill...