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Jamie Nicholls Cairngorm

Being a snowboarder in Scotland can be difficult. There's the same roller-coaster of emotion every year, starting in November with the first flurry of sleet that has everyone from your Facebook friends to the Daily Express convinced that this'll be the winteriest winter ever - and that we'll all be riding Japow-esque pillows by the new year.

What happens next is anyone's guess - massive early-season dumps followed by a three-month warm spell, or the other way round, or any number of variations. All you can do is cross your fingers.

All things considered, the 2013/2014 season was a great one for the Scottish hills, especially where snow levels are concerned - further proof can be found in our reader's galleries here and here. As you'll see in this round-up of the five resorts, sometimes it caused more problems than it solved, but the staff worked themselves to the bone to allow thousands of people to enjoy home-soil shredding.

Snow gods: same again next year please.

[part title="Glencoe"]

AndyLeslie Greg Bow

Glencoe had plenty to smile about, with records falling left and right - although you could say they were equally cursed and blessed. No less than 73 consecutive days of snow meant that the upper lifts were soon buried, remaining under the snow for roughly five weeks. Still, it meant that there was a healthy base that meant uplift continued right through to 5th May.

The weather meant that the famous Coe Cup had to be postponed, but the rescheduled event was a winner. Plus the Glasgow guys were up regularly to get the park going, and even got the attention of the national news - which resulted in this, one of our favourite videos from the whole season:

[part title="Cairngorm"]

Danny McCormick, always grinning in the  'gorms. Photo: Ed Blomfield.

When it comes to events, no other resort came close to Cairngorm this season. On top of the Scottish Freestyle Championships, Bonnie Banked Slalom, Scottish Freedom Series and others, the resort saw the return of the Vans Hi Standard in April. Fast becoming an annual pilgrimage for a large chunk of the UK riding community, the weekend saw a top-drawer park and just enough favourable weather to throw another epic comp.

Making its debut this year was Bag The Pipe, the UK's first ever halfpipe contest. Having bought a pipe cutter last year, the crew got it in place early on - only for it to be buried by unholy amounts of the white stuff. Eventually, though, it was back in place and got a right good rinsing on the day of the comp.

Ben Kilner was among those bagging the pipe in April. Photo: Stevie McKenna

They finally called time on the season in early May, but not before sorting out a pristine kicker and inviting Jamie Nicholls to come and play on it - look out for the shots from the session in his forthcoming documentary, Forged In Steel. All this while still catering for thousands of snowsports enthusiasts every week, even as the wind piled mountains of snow on top of the train tracks and top station. Not too shabby.

[part title="The Lecht"]

By their own admission, the Lecht didn't have the best of seasons. The frankly ridiculous levels of snow seen elsewhere never quite materialised at Scotland's smallest resort, and they were forced to shut up shop relatively early in the year. Still, when they got the goods they wasted no time at all in getting a decent park together - seen here being given the business by Andy Laird.

[part title="Nevis Range"]


Nevis Range, another west coast mountain, had similar levels of consistent snowfall to Glencoe, and resort founder Iain Sykes claimed in mid-February that it was easily the most snow he'd ever seen there. With fences buried, the mountain at times was one big marshmallow - you could ride just about anywhere. The famous Back Corries were absolutely loaded, as you can see in the photo above. The Braveheart chairlift was quickly buried but it was with some celebration that it was finally dug out - in April!

Right where they left her. Photo: Nevis Range

[part title="Glenshee"]

Glenshee's problem this year wasn't the lack of snow - they too had to deal with buried lifts - but rather the lack of sun. Despite almost 100 days of snowsports between December and April, they counted a grand total of seven sunny days.


Still, when the visibility allowed, there was some great snow to be had on the well-covered runs, and the crew kept the park ticking over as well. One of the highlights was the return of the Scottish Snowboard Cross Championships. Fresh off the back of the Olympics, the event made great use of some rare good weather and knocked it out of the park once again.