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COOL RUNNING; TREVOR WALLS slopes off to join the Scottish dudes.

If you think a spot of B&B in the Scottish mountains is not a hot holiday option, you're wrong.

That's because, in this case, B&B stands for BAD & BOARD.

The bad stands for real cool and the board refers to that thing strapped to your feet.

I threw caution and credibility to the wind to join the young dudes carving it up on the ski slopes with their snowboards.

B&B also stands for Back to Basics ... you'll quickly find your ego has landed, with a bump.

The bad news is that when you swap two skis for one board, you'd think things would get easier.

Not - as the dudes say.

But learn in a pack, with a cool phrasebook stashed in your back pocket and you'll not know if your bum is wet through impromptu landings in the snow or because you just laughed too much.

Nevis Range was the venue for a bunch of adults having more fun than kids. It was just rippin' and wicked as we sampled the delights of Scotland's highest ski slopes on Aonach Mor.

A fast gondola from just outside Fort William whisks you up to the Snowgoose restaurant and that there white stuff.

Then the fun began as, manacled to the trendy boards, six would-be dudes put on a display of incompetence that kept "normal" skiers amused as they soared over us on the chairlifts.

Falling down without the benefit of having been in a pub was a new experience.

While the "real" dudes carved and curved their way around the pistes, we found our curve went upwards far quicker than expected.

Our instructor had told us this would happen, but us doubting Thomases didn't realise that, within a couple of hours, we would be getting the highest chairlift and descending with a wee bit of control ...

Not too much style ... but loadsa fun.

The wide-open skiing on Aonach Mor will keep you smiling all day long as you cruise the wide pistes till you're too tired to stand up.

Then, a visit to the Snowgoose shows just how Scottish skiing is no longer a poor second to its Euro cousin.

Service is slick, the grub's great and there's acres of space in this warm and welcoming mountain restaurant.

You can even make your pals envious by jotting down your exploits on a postcard and mailing it from the highest post box in the UK.

Not far south is an altogether different skiing area, Glencoe. It once had the reputation of being for hard nuts only - getting to the top involved a long walk in between lifts.

THAT'S a thing of the past. The efficient uplift whisks you to a skiing area that makes up for its compactness with some tricky, twisting little runs.

If Aonach Mor is mostly for cruisers, Glencoe is for those who revel in a challenge, though there is plenty to keep beginners on the tips of their skis.

At the car park, there is a mini version of the Aonach Mor restaurant and it sells the perfect answer for a hangover built from Scotland's national drink.

The home-made lentil soup is just like your granny used to make.

Never mind your fancy Austrian, Swiss or French mountain fare that needs a second mortgage. This is the biz - and three steaming bowls later, I was ready to go back on the piste.

Glencoe is a hidden gem. It's nearer to Glasgow and Edinburgh than Cairngorm and Glenshee, yet seems to avoid the opposite of a white out - when you can't see the slopes for bodies.

If you haven't already skied there, try it. Then you'll know what you've been missing.

Skislope Factfile

Factfile: Fort William is the ideal base for Nevis Range skiers. Its pubs offer apres-ski with a touch of pure tartan. Accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets includes self-catering, B&B and a good variety of hotels. Glencoe village and Ballachulish are ideal for skiers in this brooding valley. Try the Clachaig Inn climbers' bar for brilliant beer and a night out to remember.

Ski Passes: Glencoe: Adults pounds 14.50, under-15s pounds 9.50. Nevis Range: Adults pounds 17, under-18s pounds 11 and under-5s free.

Ski Hire: Both centres hire skis, snowboards, boots and poles.

Parking: Free.

Information: The Scottish Youth Hostels Association is offering ski packages (incl accommodation, meals, tuition, hire of ski-gear) for pounds 219 for a week, or pounds 99 for beginners' weekends at Cairngorm. Phone: 01786 891400.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Walls, Trevor
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 14, 1996
Previous Article:Showbiz Sam; The Man In The Know.
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