Different ski resorts mark the end of the season in different ways. Some invite skiers and boarders to don fancy dress; others hold pond skimming parties, where competitors hit a man-made puddle at top speed and see how far they can glide across its surface before they start sinking and have to be rescued. At Glencoe, the season wraps up with the Bangers & Slash Banked Slalom, and this year’s event, held under sunny skies at the end of April, was one to remember.
Back after a three-year hiatus, this is a community-driven event, dreamed up by locals and made possible by their commitment, determination and snow-sculpting savvy. The idea is to create something that’s not only spectacular to watch but also accessible to all. The fastest one down’s the winner, but as demonstrated by a stunning film of the event, released today and filmed by participants, this really is the kind of race where it’s the taking part rather than the winning that counts.
Unlike regular slalom races, which are usually held on a course that has been pisted flat, banked slalom events take take place on a twisting, curving course that has been dug out of the snow. Raised banks on the outside of corners allow racers to keep their speed through turns.
This year’s Bangers & Slash course meandered it’s way through the whole of Glencoe’s Main Basin, snaking it’s way from near the top of the mountain through 21 lovingly-sculpted banks and berms, and finishing at the mouth of the narrow gully known as the Haggis Trap. “Leaner than usual snow levels meant no machines were able to access the upper mountain of the resort in order to assist with build,” says event organiser Richard McIntosh, “so every inch of the course was carved out the mountain by us, the competitors."
“It’s days on the hill like these where you can genuinely feel the positivity beaming out of everyone and you can’t help but smile all day,” he adds. “There really is something in the air in Glencoe. It’s a special place. None of this would have been possible without the constant support of management at the resort and the locals who call the mountain home. We look forward to creating many more memories like this for ourselves, and everyone else, for many more years to come.”
For more on Glencoe Mountain, see www.glencoemountain.co.uk