A Scottish skier has managed to make some turns on Scottish snow every month of the year for ten straight years. That’s 120 consecutive months on Scottish snow.
Former Geography teacher Helen Rennie said that over the past decade she has had increasing difficulty finding surviving snow patches to ski in late summer/early autumn each year.
Helen, now 65, started her monthly ski trips, aged 55, when she was recovering from oesophageal cancer in 2009 and looking for a personal challenge.
She has found snow in the Cairngorms every month except for September 2013, 2017 and 2019, when she had to ski a snow patch at Aonach Beag by Nevis Range, a feat that required a six mile hike there and back, to keep the run going.
It looked like completing the 120th straight month of skiing looked touch-and-go as what is traditionally the longest-lasting snow patch in Scotland’s mountains, known as the Sphynx, had shrunk to less than 9 metres across and 12.5 metres deep and its survival was in doubt.
The Sphynx has only disappeared completely eight times in the past three centuries, although two of those have been in the past two years.
However a very light snowfall on the summit of Cairngorm made Helen’s 120th straight month of skiing in Scotland possible in the end.
Helen said that when she started in November 2009 she never imagined that 10 years later she’d have achieved what she had,
“Way back in Nov 2009, I headed up Cairngorm to enjoy the first day of the snow sports season, never for a moment imagining that day would be the start of a record breaking achievement. It was an epic ski season and snow lay in the mountains throughout the summer, so I decided to try to ski for twelve consecutive months by hiking up to the remaining snow patches- and then it just kind of snowballed!” she said, adding,
“The real heroes of this achievement are my GP’s and the staff at Raigmore hospital in Inverness because without them I wouldn’t have been here to attempt this challenge”