A lass from Inverness has taken her love of skiing to a whole new height. Helen Rennie has just broken a long-standing record for continuous months of skiing at CairnGorm Mountain ski resort near Aviemore, Scotland.
Helen, 58, who is a volunteer ambassador for CairnGorm Mountain during the ski season, has just clocked up 35 consecutive months of skiing in Scotland - a feat which has involved miles of hiking in ski boots once the lifts have stopped running to find patches of snow on which to get a few turns in. Helen’s route to this goal has already been recorded when a film clip of her seeking out a tiny patch of snow to ski on Nov. 12 last year was selected from more than 800 hours of film clips for inclusion in the BBC Britain in a Day documentary. That was her 25th continuous month.
On Saturday Helen, along with fellow Invernesian Alan Mackay managed to lay some turns on remaining snow in Ciste Mhearad on the NE side of Cairngorm, notching up her 35th consecutive month of skiing on the mountain.
“Nethy Bridge resident Richard Eccles clocked up 34 months in the 1990s although his criteria was rather more stringent than ours,” says Helen. “For him the patch had to be at least 100 metres from top to bottom and allow him to do a minimum of 20 consecutive turns. It even involved him being attached to a rope, played out by local mountain guide Eric Pirie as he went down a steep remaining snow patch at the head of Loch Avon. “
Nothing so extreme for Helen - Saturday’s patch was only about seven metres long and so narrow at the top that Helen’s skis were not able to fit on it, but despite that she managed two linked turns!
It’s not record-breaking though that keeps Helen wandering up to find snow. “I just love skiing and some turns are better than none!” She laughs “I’ve also become very interested in the location of remaining snow patches and the rate at which they thaw. Last September’s turns on the remaining snow in Ciste Mhearad were in an area that has been bare of snow since mid August this year.”
When asked about month 36 Helen says “Who knows? The last couple of years there’s been great skiing on fresh snow for a day or two in October, so it would be wonderful if it happened again this year . . . Snow dances please!”
It looks as if her record could go on building as the first flurries of snow were seen falling on nearby Ben Macdui only last week on a day on which the lowest ever August temperature was recorded at the resort.