Snow-sports clubs… ASSEMBLE! Alpine trips are still a while away, so the closest we have to après is the annual pilgrimage to Edinburgh and the mighty Dryslope Championships, formerly known as BUDS. Every year, snowsports clubs from across the country travel to Hillend to compete in race and freestyle events and get nice and muddy in the process. If you are heading up this year, we have some tips for you…
Save yourself for Hillend
The majority of clubs will come by bus and that could mean a ten-hour journey before the weekend even begins! It’s a good idea to stock up on food, drinks, and bring a decent pillow so you’re rearing to go. If you’re competing and you go big on the bus, it could throw a spanner in the works so try your hardest to save yourself for the actual event (if you can). You’re unlikely to get a good sleep in the hostel dorm and your liver will appreciate it!
Dress for the hill
Once you’ve left the warmth of the hostel, you’re in for a long day up the hill so make sure you wrap up! There are indoor lockers and a café at Hillend but aside from that, you will be exposed to the Scottish elements all day. All competitors generally wear salopettes and ski jackets but even if you’re not competing, it’s a good idea to wear them too. A beer jacket is a no substitute for a real one, and a Buckfast jacket isn’t either (although it does have its perks). Sturdy shoes are essential since the grassy hill gets muddy and fairly challenging to navigate after a beverage or two. Don’t let soggy feet hold you back from dancing and take decent footwear.
Explore the surroundings
Back in the day, the hill used to be a barren location for spectators but these days clubs have upped their game and gazebos, mini fridges and inflatable sofas are not uncommon. The landscape looks more like a festival so it’s a great opportunity to meet other clubs and size up the competition. The views from the hill are an outstanding backdrop to the competitions and you can watch from either side of the slope, so explore! Remember the toilets are in the car park so prepare for several laps of the hill unless you’re prepared to go off-piste.
Make the most of the weekend
The weekend will be jam-packed with action so don’t miss out on everything on offer. The event kicks off with a pre-party at The Three Sisters where everybody generally gets over-excited on night one. There will be DJs on the slope all day and after-parties each night with big acts so it’s all about tactical pacing. You can keep the momentum going by refuelling at the barbecue on the slope or grab bacon rolls at the cafe. There is no alcohol allowed on the hill but a bar will keep you hydrated all day long. The big air final always ends up in a massive rave on the slope so don’t you dare peak early… and have a lovely game of BUDS.