14/05/2008 | by Jamie Nicholls
Our Highland hoedown continued today with, for the most part, clear skies and not that much wind. Well, when I say not that much wind it’s a relative thing. Euan, the super helpful ski patrol guy was telling us how he’d been up in 170 MILE per hour wind here once and Angus’ mum called the pretty hefty gusts in the park the Cairngorm equivalent of a perfectly still day.
The Scottish beast.
Anyway, first thing we made a beeline for the Vans park to check out what Adam, the cat driver, had come up with for a kicker. From the bulging eyes of the restaurant staff we could tell it was something they didn’t get to see every day; on closer inspection the riders agreed that Adam had done a sterling job – the heaps of snow they have built up here allowed a kicker of never before seen size to be built. A 15 metre or so table with about 18 metres to the sweet spot, this is – as far as we can gather from talking with the locals – the biggest kicker that has ever been built in Scotland. Nice.
Into the void.
Leaving Angus and Ben with the cat to supervise the fine tuning of the booter, me, Sami and the Swedes headed down to hit up a pretty interesting drop over a fence and off a building. Though it was by no means huge, the fact that you couldn’t see the landing as you popped over the fence – just the long way down to the valley – made it pretty freaky until the first hits were out the way. Sörman went first and, conscious of the need to clear the fence, popped a little too hard and went a little too big. For a moment it looked like he was gonna land flat but he got away with it, took less speed next time and the session got underway.
With a couple of shots in the bag Ben gave us a shout to let us know the kicker was finished, that they’d tested it and it was feeling good. It was that bit more windy up there and Chris and Tobias weren’t really feeling the still-soft snow just before the kicker, nor gambling with the gusts, so they had a couple of straight airs and did a bit more fine tuning while local boy Angus – who’s far more accustomed to the Scotch elements – stomped a pretty mean fs 7. Though this is by no means a huge kicker, it looks a good un, and the stoke on Ben and Angus’ faces at having the opportunity to ride a decent size jump in their backyard was palpable.
Fine tuning. And what a view!
So leaving the booter for tomorrow we headed down and sessioned a pretty funny water ride in and peat-laden bog. The run in was perhaps one of the sketchier ones they boys have ever encountered, with a bumpy, rutted steepness giving way to a rock and stream littered flat part where you struggled to keep the speed for the water. Coming up short in these murky frigid waters was not something to be relished. Angus went first and did just that, much to everyone’s amusement. But as the session went on they worked out how to keep the speed and we got a couple surf slashes (one of which totally nailed Sami’s photo bag) and Chris managed to just do the long way across the bog.
Ben, Angus, Chris and Tobias hiking the sketchy run in to the bog slide.
With everyone pretty hungry, we ragged it to get some good old British haute cuisine in our bellies: fish and chips. The abject horror on the Scandies’ faces when I explained to them that they could buy a deep fried Mars bar for £1.50 was classic. Sami’s gonna buy one tomorrow and photograph it, though I very much doubt he will be putting it anywhere near his mouth.