Images and Footage of Skiing in Ireland by MIT staff.

A day spent Hiking up and then Skiing & Snowboarding down Galtymore during Storm Emma, March 2018

Galtymore lies on the border of County Limerick and County Tipperary, it's about an hour from the centre of Cork. The highest of the Galtee Mountains at 919m, it always intrigued me whilst driving the Cork - Dublin motorway as a perfect place to ski if the snow ever came with enough depth.

We headed up on Sunday 4th March, just as the Beast from the East came to an end. We still had to put the snow chains on as we drove to the starting point for the hike up, which we took as a good sign.

Skis resting by the Galty Walk Sign
Eric embarking on the hike to the summit of Galtymore
Eric hiking through the Galtees in Ski Gear
Stream in snow, the Galtee Mountains
Eric sets out on a ski expedition in the Galtees
Frozen ice formations in the Galtees
Eric battling deep snow in the Galtee Mountains
Snowy Ruins of a House in the Galtee Mountains
Frozen tree in the Galtees
Snow Covered Galtee Mountains, on the boarder of Limerick and Tipperary
Eric and Phil at a frozen Galtymore Cross
Frozen Galtymore Cross

Reaching the Summit

The hike up was about 3 and a half hours. The snow makes it slow going, and we wanted to hike up the planned descent route to check it out, which is not the easiest way up. First thing that struck me on the way up was the wind. Even on that Sunday it was still really blowing. This has lifted all the light snow away leaving just a thin layer of icy hard packed snow. Thin yes, but nice and dense to support us we thought. Every now and again though we'd discover where the loose snow had blown to as we'd wade across small valleys up to our middles in the collected snow.

About 1/3rd of the way up we entered the fog which persisted all the way to the top. GPS and compass to try and stay on route. By the top, the visibility was about 10 yards at best with white all around.

With no visibility, if feels like you are on a treadmill with no end in sight, so it was a great feeling to finally reach the top.

As we were trying to navigate to the cross on the peak I thought I heard voices. Then a few seconds later a few shapes started appearing out of the mist - 3 lost hikers trying to find the summit! Very strange to hear someone clearly standing close but still out of sight.

The conditions on the top felt like an Arctic expedition - sub-zero temperatures, howling wind, no visibility and crazy ice formations. Despite having full ski kit including 3 sets of thermals the cold cuts right through you. The scene up there is worth it though; wind and persistent freezing conditions form an otherworldly vista of growing ice sculptures that make it look like an alien planet.

The cross itself was an incredible sight - worth the whole hike just to see that. Solid ice formations covering every inch and growing up to 2 feet in thickness.

Video of our Irish Ski Expedition


The Ski Down

Then it was finally time for the ski down. Eric on skis and myself, Phil, on a snowboard. It was a unique experience I have to say. Roughly 50% skiing on snow, and 50% on heather & rocks. We were skiing patch to patch, trying to dodge the densest vegetation and jump snow patch to snow patch. I've been skiing and snowboard since I was 4 years old, and still, that was like nothing else I've ever done. An epic ski? Not at all. An epic experience that'll I'll remember for a very long time? Most definitely.

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