2016 Autumn REPORT: Nevis Range by Jeff Starkey

Summer as always feels like it really gets going with the arrival of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at the beginning of June. Once again this proved to be a great success with British results and podium places, spectator numbers, event organisation and even the weather. The medical team was nearly 100% BASP connected and with a notable number of patrollers from Glenshee and Nevis Range. Oban MRT once again were involved providing transport and personnel. As ever the riders at this world class level did themselves proud…making it look easy or even falling off well…spectators fairing less well with an increase in incidents treated. In all just over 100 casualties were treated with an interesting mix of mainly trauma but also medical conditions. Throughout the weekend all the medics got thoroughly stuck in with lots of attending, treating, sharing and learning. My thanks and respect to them. Same again next summer. Dates are in the diary.jeff-starkeyApart from the back ground work which takes months, the physical changes at Nevis Range from general resort/car park to event village take about 2 weeks. It never ceases to amaze me that within 24hrs of the last rider crossing the line everything disappears with the exception of the grandstand…and so the rest of summer begins. And as always customers come and enjoy the mountain via the gondola, bikes, high wire adventure, ceildhs, races, … The weather whilst maybe not bad certainly hasn’t been the best until September October when it has been glorious. Overall customer numbers and therefore finances have been reasonable and as a company we have been able to move forward with various projects including a few for patrol.

The big deal for Nevis Range is the hydro project. Due to be up and running by the end of the year we will be generating electricity for directly powering the bottom station including the gondola and hopefully selling on power to the national grid. I understand that gondolas especially have complicated electrical demands that therefore require some special electronics to balance supply and demand. Other than this it’s a fairly typical “low flow, high fall” installation, 1.something megawatt. Blue.

The ski area mountain infrastructure has been getting its usual maintenance. Fences, lifts, towers etc. . All very boring and not at all appreciated by your average customer but without it winter just wouldn’t happen. Even patroller Will got in on the action this summer working for engineering…”we know who to blame if it all goes wrong”. A date has already been scheduled for Will’s rehabilitation from engineering to become a fully functional patroller again for winter.

Patrol wise we have a newly revamped summit hut interior, thanks to Mark F for completion. Transceiver Park has been fully refurbished. Deliveries of signs, pads, poles have started as have sledge refurbishments. New for this season,  Nevis Range patrol will be introducing RECCO. Facilitated by Davy we will have a RECCO detector and will be selling RECCO strips. Davy will be supplying the training for patrollers. As part of the “Be searchable” message we plan to complement the existing avalanche safety messages. Davy talked about RECCO at the AGM/training weekend and availability of strips. Get in touch if you are wanting one or more. Thanks of course to Davy, CranKitUpGear for making this happen.

So looking now towards winter… the team this year is looking very much the same. The BASP patrol course is scheduled for December and hopefully will generate some trainees for each resort. Good luck and best wishes to Chris who will be ‘transferring’/working this season at Glencoe, great to experience another patrol operation and demonstrates the commonality of what patrol do. By way of reminder to other patrollers or members,  you are welcome to muck in and experience Nevis Range patrol, I know this sentiment is reciprocated across the other resorts.

I will be organising training for patrollers both internally and externally. With this in mind I am planning for BASP members ‘Winter Rigging’, ‘Avalanche Forecasting’ and ‘Trauma Risk Management’. I would be interested in hearing from anybody who is interested in any of these. It is difficult to know ‘when’ is best and a show of interest is a good starting place.

So that must be enough… very much looking forward to this winter. See you up there….


NR Patrol.

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