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What is it like to ski the Flypaper, Glencoe?

Written by Fiona

April 18 2018

If you know anything about skiing in Scotland, you’ll know about the Flypaper. This ski run at Glencoe Mountain is claimed as the country’s steepest in-bound slope. Many people reckon it’s actually one of the steepest slopes in Europe.

I had been told about the Flypaper many years ago but I never imagined I would be brave or skilful enough enough to tackle it. However, on Sunday I not only skied it successfully, but I loved every second of it.

Skiing the Flypaper with a smile

A trip to Glencoe Mountain at the weekend brought the surprise of lovely spring snow. Scottish spring snow is something you need to experience. The snow has a strangely granulated but forgiving texture  – but it is a lot of fun to ski. If you think that Scotland is all about skiing on ice, that is definitely not the case, as I have discovered this year.

Hubby G and I enjoyed some of the easier blue runs, then the red-graded Spring Run, before I was persuaded to take a look at the Flypaper.

To be honest, once you are on the slope looking down at the Flypaper the only way back out is to remove your skis and bootpack up.

Looking down at the steep Flypaper, Glencoe.

So, there I was.

At the top of a very steep slope, wondering if I would be brave enough to make the descent.

Looking at this photo you can see how very steep this slope is. Most people agree that the angle is at least 40 degrees, but some have put it as high as 45. It does depend on the snow level each year but I would say it could easily be 45 degrees.

It looked very steep anyway.

I didn’t want to ski the edge of the Flypaper, I wanted to ski down the middle.

Very steep!

Hubby G went ahead. He had skied the Flypaper the week before and he thought I might manage it. He knows my skiing skills. He said the spring snow would help and there is also a possible chicken run to the side of the Flypaper, where the angle is not quite as steep.

I looked down, gulped and just decided to take a turn.

As I skied downhill, I felt the snow move underneath me. I think I must have descended twice the distance expected on the fast-shifting soft snow.

Rather than being scary it was exhilarating.

I took another turn and I felt a big smile spread across my face.  I was skiing the Flypaper and I was enjoying it.

The Flypaper is not that long and while it is very steep the soft snow helped my progress. I would absolute not want to ski this wall if it was icy.

The slope is also wide enough to make fairly big turns, should you want to. I kept my turns short and neat because I didn;t fancy a long traverse on such a gradient.

Whether it was the very favourable conditions or my vastly improved technique and confidence thanks to many weeks of skiing this year, I skied down the Flypaper without a backward glance.

Find out whether the Flypaper is the steepest slope in Scotland in my blog: Great facts about Scotland’s ski resorts

I also learned a new word: “Sluff.” This is when loose snow on a steep slope creates mini avalanches, or, in some cases, larger avalanches. All around me I felt and saw mini sluffs on the Flypaper. There were also three deep sluff channels running down a long length of the slope.

I am not sure how safe all this was but we did make it to the lower slope and ski away for the traverse back on to the lower Glencoe slopes without mishap.

I still grin every time I think: “I skied the Flypaper.”

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