Back in October we reported that we had been able to get snowfencing plans ahead of schedule thanks to a substantial donation of pallet slats by Abington's haulage company, Reive and Grossart. That allowed us to make 500 metres of temporary snowfencing, which is expected to last at least a couple of seasons until the Club's finances allow to replace the existing sheep fence with a better performing post and rail snowfence.
In November, over two weekends of work parties, a tracked post knocker put the posts needed for another 450 metre-long line of snowfence which is expected to provide a large leeward drift on the Throw Rig slope and a smaller drift on the windward uphill line.
Also during October and November, the Lowther slope was mowed to make skiing possible on a much thinner snow base. Three tow pylons were dug out and re-aligned, and two pylons that had suffered storm damage in the last winter were re-welded and brought back to the hill. Further improvements were made with the emergency kill switches. We serviced the Lowther tow engine and -after many months of planning- the Club purchased new wheels to replace the ageing original wheels of the tow.
There is always continuous planning and admin work running in the background, even when it may look like there is nothing happening on the hill. October saw some of the paperwork activity of the past months starting to bear fruit. The Ski Club's books were finalised and sent to the accountant to be signed-off (members will be sent further information about this soon). Our request to South Lanarkshire Council for a small grant towards snowfencing received a positive outcome. Substantial progress was made with the funding applications towards the new clubhouse and as a result we are pleased to announce that we are now waiting for a (hopefully positive) response from the funders. Further progress was made with the plans for the future replacement of the timber Engine Hut. On the other hand, after much consideration, we decided not to hold the Snowball Cycling Sportive 2016 as it looked like we would not have enough resources to organise a successful event in the Autumn.
Next Season PreviewWe are about to start accepting membership renewals for 2016-17. Starting from this season, we will accept membership payments online. This will reduce considerably the admin workload for your membership secretary and treasurer.
Just like last year, this winter season 2016/17 we are aiming to provide 20 days of mechanical uplift between December-March, always subject to favourable snow conditions and availability of volunteers.
At village level we will have a similar set up as last season, running one or two of our portable tows depending on demand. In addition, we will have the popular night skiing which allows us to open the tows after school hours during midweek. The village tows are accessible for the whole family, just a 5 minutes walk from the Hopetoun Arms hotel in Leadhills. The village tows open mainly during January.
In February, when the snow retreats from village level to higher altitudes, we open the main tow at Lowther Hill. We no longer have a temporary shelter on the hill, therefore please bear in mind that we will only open the Lowther tow when the weather conditions are safe for everybody. The slopes are Lowther Hill are only suitable for intermediate or advanced skiers/boarders who are happy to walk or skin up to the hill.