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WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.14hrs on Mon 8 Jan 18
A bit of a Cairngorm breeze blowing today with reduced visibility in the spindrift. Bitterly cold at the top but this was keeping the snow fresh. In sheltered aspects the visibility was good with sunshine

It reminded us how thin the cover still is as some areas were getting a bit scoured, especially in the ptarmigan bowl.
While the off piste areas such as the east lady were being stripped back to rock other areas were gaining significantly such as the aonoch bowl and the jewel in the crown, the M2.

I didn't think the M2 could get any better after yesterday but it stepped up a notch today. For the first couple of hours it was not pisted and the drifts were doing a good impersonation of the Himalayas, soft and exciting to hit at speed launching yourself on to the next one. The run continued like this all the way down to the day lodge. After lunch the pistie beasty had done its job and the drifts were now bashed flat giving an exceptional surface to ski on, soft fast dry snow, so easy to carve up. I think at this stage the few people on the mountain got the message and started to use it as the main descent. On each run the spindrift was refreshing the powder surface giving smiles all round.

The day lodge tow track has been pisted all the way down to the load station as has over yonder, hopefully they will be able to get the west wall and day lodge open soon, I am sure it will depend on the wind and resultant scouring.

The cas is still the tow track, not bad but still not the best. Easy skiing to the base station either by the lower slopes or the day lodge.

Graeme

Ptarmigan traverse, fences are catching the snow which is being pushed out on to the runs.


cross over from the traverse to the cas, nice soft snow.


Cross over to the gun barrel is much improved.


The M2 after the huge drifts were flattened out. After each run fresh snow was blowing over the surface refreshing the powder effect.


The day lodge was pisted to the dog leg full width then after that it was one machine with plenty of un-pisted snow to the side. An excellent ski down. the tow track has been pisted and gave an alternative if you did not like the soft.




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.23hrs Mon 8 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: M2.JPG (157kB)   day lodge.JPG (201kB)   gun barrel cross.JPG (213kB)   Cas crossover.JPG (169kB)   Ptarmigan.JPG (170kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.33hrs on Tue 9 Jan 18
The wind remained fairly strong most of the day continuing the stripping of the snow in some areas and redepositing it in others. The cloud sat on the tops with occasional breaks, as you headed down the mountain the sun was out more often than not giving quite pleasant conditions if you were out of the wind.

The top of the ptarmigan had constant spindrift making it hard to see even when the sun was out. The ptarmigan load area is getting quite rocky and the ciste tow remained closed as the fairway and tow path were back to rock in places. The majority of the bowl is still good as is the ptarmigan traverse.

The traverse has good cover but the strong wind made gliding difficult. The Cas is still not so good and the lower zigzag is closed again. The cross over to the gun barrel and the M1 tow is fairly good. The gun barrel is a bit firm under foot.

The lower slopes have gained and are an easy ski though burnside has lost just above the bridge to the day lodge giving a few meters of mixed heather and snow skiing.

The M2, well it was great, now fully pisted down to the day lodge. The surface was a bit firmer than the last couple of days. I did see a snow plougher head down and they were not too happy. Don't forget the M2 although a blue run does have that steep section in the middle. I would say it is an upper end blue with some technical skiing required. May be not suitable for a snow plougher.

It took a bit of confidence in the murk to head down the M2 not knowing the run very well. We met up with a lady from Orkney and a chap from London and took them down at various speeds to their delight. I think it made their day. As I said before if you are on the mountain and not quite sure where the runs go look us out and tag along.

A few pictures going up on face book later.
[www.facebook.com]

Graeme

The cloud sat on the tops most of the day though lovely below the tunnel


Significant drifting in the strong wind across the ptarmigan.


Ptarmigan bowl still has good cover but scoured areas are increasing, particularly at the load station.


The M2 continues to give smiles.


The day lodge run is now pisted all the way down.












Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.41hrs Tue 9 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: M2.JPG (164kB)   day Lodge.JPG (258kB)   Drifting snow.JPG (176kB)   Ptarmigan bowl.JPG (169kB)   Cloud Level.JPG (238kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 16.57hrs on Wed 10 Jan 18
The snow pack is changing in the mild temperatures, much softer most of the way up the mountain, brown patches are starting to form again even in the ptarmigan bowl.

The M2 which has be superb since Sunday is starting to show signs of ware, still good but just have to be careful. The day lodge is getting quite soggy at the bottom and with the traffic is getting quite scrapped. In saying that it is still the best run by far.

With the good visibility today we decided to venture off the beaten track, over to the Fiacaill traverse and down the old run back to the zigzags. A we bit of a challenge in places but also a nice ski in others. The surface was refrozen making it grippy though where the wind had blown ridges and they froze you could easily catch you edge.

The ptarmigan traverse is still good with fresh snow.

A few gentle snow showers passed through but made no impact on the conditions. Still some nice skiing to be had (not the cas) but we need more snow.

Graeme

Ptarmigan traverse is good wide and soft, both sides of the fences.


The top bowl is getting a worn in places and the surface is a bit icy.


The m2 is starting to get worn patches


The cas is suffering after the strong winds in the last few day.


The fiacaill gave some interesting variety skiing. Good with tricky bits.








Edited 2 times. Last edit at 17.11hrs Wed 10 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Fiacaill.JPG (176kB)   cas.JPG (192kB)   M2 upper.JPG (193kB)   Ptarmigan traverse.JPG (185kB)   Ptarmigan.JPG (195kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.08hrs on Thu 11 Jan 18
A beautiful day on the mountain, remaining cold all day and not a breath of wind. The cold temperature meant the snow did not soften making it quite hard under foot, even icy in places that were getting scraped such as the steeper areas of the M2.

Most areas were firm and grippy such as the ptarmigan traverse.

The upper mountain looks like it has a lot of snow but be careful if you think about trying off piste. It has set up hard with solid wind blown ridges. We headed off to the Fiacaill area, a nice ski though quite technical in places. Not soft powder as it may look from a distance.

The cas is still a difficult ski though the zigzags are good. the cold temperatures have allowed the machines to push the snow around. There is now a better way through the lower slopes giving an easy ski back to the day lodge.

The ciste does not have enough snow to run.

The M2 is getting more scraped in places but still a good ski that is being utilised by many people. This has lead to the day lodge suffering at the bottom, a bit rocky and gritty in places.

There is good skiing but we need more snow, hopefully soon.

People and view pictures going up on face book later
[www.facebook.com]

Graeme

Cloud sat in the valley most of the day giving us sunshine above the inversion.


Ptarmigan traverse gave good skiing for beginners, firm but grippy I was told by my student.


The Fiacaill area. It looks like soft powder but it is actually quite hard. You need to keep to areas than have not been blown into ridges.


Joining the zigzags after skiing the Fiacaill. The upper zigzag is holding up well.


The day lodge run has frozen hard after being soggy yesterday. This made the skiing quite difficult and was catching some people out at the end of the day, especially with tired legs. The last few meters are gritty and rocky.








Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.18hrs Thu 11 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Ptarmigan Traverse.JPG (192kB)   Traverse.JPG (198kB)   Zigzag.JPG (210kB)   Fiacaill.JPG (165kB)   Day Lodge.JPG (251kB)  
some frustrated skier


Posts: 227
Joined: Mar 2003
Last Visited: 13:25
15th Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.59hrs on Thu 11 Jan 18
Windy, many thanks for the updates for ghost who can't make it up. Making me very jealous.

WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 15.15hrs on Sat 13 Jan 18
some frustrated skier Wrote:
Windy, many thanks for the updates for ghost who can't make it up. Making me very jealous.


Thanks for that, I can tell you, you would not want to have been on the mountain today, the wind went ballistic! It is a number of years since I have been lifted off my feet with the wind, quite disconcerting!

Each time we skied the M2 I was singing "ice ice baby" It was hard going until surprisingly the steep section. Here the snow being stripped from the other runs was being deposited. The M2 has good cover, solid but good until you get on to the day lodge. The day lodge run is good for 2/3s then large bare sections appear, not for the faint hearted.

The cas? well its a mess, very narrow and rocky. The 105 was giving the better way down until the cas cross over which is rock. Surprisingly the upper zigzag is soft and good.

There is a way down through the lower slopes and the side of the car park t-bar but not via burn side.

We were skiing the M2 steep section when an exceptional gust came through, no control at all and at the full mercy of the elements. It was time to call it a day before one of us got seriously hurt.

The M2 will give good skiing once the wind calms down, as will the Ptarmigan traverse but the rest of the mountain desperately needs more snow.

Graeme

Oh dear, The ptarmigan load area


M2 "lets go and fly a kite" Mary Poppins style "Lets go and fly a Windy Miller"


Day lodge, some of the patches are bigger than the one in the picture


105 better than the cas


Trying to find better ways down than using the cas tow path









Edited 2 times. Last edit at 15.24hrs Sat 13 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: 105.JPG (185kB)   cas area.JPG (198kB)   daylodge.JPG (201kB)   M2 Steep.JPG (178kB)   Ptarmigan Bowl.JPG (173kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 19.04hrs on Wed 17 Jan 18
First day back on the mountain after serious man flu.
About 35-40cm of snow has fallen in the village so I was keen to head up and see what had happened.

It was very windy and snowing heavily most of the day shutting the upper lifts. Skiing was limited to the train and the sunkids button.

The very strong winds have pushed the snow into the fences filling in the tow tracks and many of the runs. Out side of the fences many areas have been scoured. The runs have improved significantly, especially the cas.

The cas is very skiable top to bottom with out using the tow path and was improving through out the day. The ground crew were working on the tow with the rope running a number of times. The machines were pushing snow onto the unload area from the surrounding massive drifts.

The lady is nice. occasional scoured sections but plenty of soft snow to recover on.

The lower runs have filled in well with a ski any where cover. Many people were getting the train to the middle station and skiing down from there keeping out of the crazy winds at the top. Getting on to the traverse was exceptionally difficult but once you reached the cas it was like some one threw a switch and off went the wind.

In between the heavy snow showers and improved visibility we noticed Jeans Bowl was full of snow, as was the upper Fiacaill area, so off we went. It made our day. Deep soft snow drifts with wind blown powder. Five runs top to bottom on untracked snow fields, superb.

The guys were pisting out the fiacaill tow track and it is now ready to go.

The wind is forecast to get stronger tomorrow so who knows what will happen.

More pictures going on face book later.
[www.facebook.com]

Graeme

If you are coming up from down south expecting full cover you will be disappointed. the wind and fencing are doing their jobs filling in the runs but you can see the scoured areas in the picture.


The white lady has caught the fresh snow. Approximately half width most of the way.


The traverse was exceptionally difficult to enter with the wind though once you got to about here you were well sheltered.


The best area of the day if you enjoy off piste deep snow, Fiacaill and Jeans bowl.


Looking down Jeans Bowl, you could pick many different routes. A few trees and rocks to be careful of, very enjoyable right back to the day lodge.







Edited 2 times. Last edit at 19.18hrs Wed 17 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: overview.JPG (185kB)   Up Jeans Bowl.JPG (166kB)   Jeans Bowl.JPG (186kB)   Traverse.JPG (163kB)   white lady.JPG (157kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 19.01hrs on Thu 18 Jan 18
A lovely day on the mountain, light winds, mainly sunny and cold. Its getting busier, for a mid week day in January the train was fairly packed each run and a queue formed occasionally at the M1.

The better visibility allowed us to see the effects of yesterdays snow and wind allowing us to venture further off piste. The ground crew spent much of the time pushing massive drifts getting the ciste fairway and lift into operation. The ptarmigan bowl which was in poor condition a few days ago is now wide and soft again.

The cas continues to improve though there is still more snow needed to make the full run usable for all abilities. The tow track has been worked on but not ready yet.

The Fiacaill area has caught a lot of snow. The ridge and Jeans Bowl was being used a lot by the more adventurous. Not quite as soft as yesterday, a little slabby in palaces but very good fun. The fitters were working on the lift much of the day and by the end bars were going round.

The M2 is as close as we get to motorway skiing in this country. The snow level is up to the top of the fences and full width. The down side is the day lodge which still has the old style fencing. It was a bit scoured and hard under foot catching a few people out after the M2 ski.

The West Wall poma was running and we saw the head of ski patrol coming up. It is ready to run. The hold up is over yonder. Two machines were pushing large quantities of snow to get this skiable, they hope it will run tomorrow.

The east ptarmigan looked very inviting from a distance but on investigation it was hard wind blown ruts, not even I would ski that. Much of the off piste areas were the same with the exception of the Fiacaill and Jeans Bowl.
Tomorrow all tow are hope to open with the exception of the car park and the Cas. If the others are open the ground crew will be able to concentrate efforts on to these area.

Graeme

Ptarmigan unload area, the runs are well pisted and the off piste looks good, very deceptive, it was hard and rutty.


The Ptarmigan bowl is much improved with soft snow.


The traverse has caught lots of snow.


The cas is much better, it still need some more snow but we were having fun on it.


Jeans Bowl. For those that like off piste skiing this was excellent. A bit slabby in places but over all fun right down to the day lodge.








Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.10hrs Thu 18 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: cas.JPG (195kB)   ptarmigan.JPG (199kB)   Ptarmigan Bowl.JPG (185kB)   traverse.JPG (212kB)   Jeans Bowl.JPG (192kB)  
Wipit


Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2010
Last Visited: 21:01
30th Apr 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 19.48hrs on Thu 18 Jan 18
The man is simply inexhaustible!
Windy, Many thanks for your updates as it is going to help me massively for bullseyeing my one (maybe 2) glorious long weekend (/s) up from Portsmouth this year! You must have paid for your season pass by now!
Hard job but someone has to do it LOL!
Keep up the good work sir!!!!




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.49hrs Thu 18 Jan 18 by Wipit.

Linzski


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2018
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 20.23hrs on Thu 18 Jan 18
Another sending thanks to Windy for his excellent reports which are very useful and much enjoyed.....they are also pretty spot on which is useful given the loss of some of the better web cams etc which were very handy for working out conditions from afar.
Linzski

WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.16hrs on Fri 19 Jan 18
Thanks Wipit and Linzski, I am glad my reports are being of use, I do try to be as honest as possible. I have noticed I skew my reports to more higher end off piste though I do try to cover the lower end runs as well. Today was day 26 with lifts running, season ticked paid for its self by Christmas.

I will be on holiday a week tomorrow so I hope some one else will be able to post.

To-day the mountain weather was split in two. The Ptarmigan area was wind swept with spindrift while the lower areas such as the cas and fiacaill were sheltered.

The snow is starting to compact down so I would no longer describe it as powder, soft in most places with occasional drifts though you could find harder paces where exposed. You can still come across thin areas, especially the bottom of the day lodge.

The Fiacaill poma opened to the public for the fist time in two seasons and as you would imagine did have a few technical issues. Most of the day it was fine. The runs off the top had been left unpisted and were providing great sport for higher end skiers, Jeans bowl, the ridge run and the lower area were being well tracked.

The West Wall was going to open and was spinning off and on with staff using it. The issue was the cross wind. Over yonder has been pisted and is ready to use, we just need the wind to play nice.

We skied Lady Luck off the M2 into the White lady. Not the best ski on the mountain, hard wind blown snow. The lady its self was ok, a bit scratchy and with all the soft stuff available on in the Fiacaill area we only skied it once.

The cas,gun barrel, zigzags and lower slopes are well pisted and it looks like the cas tow may be ready as a large amount of snow has been pushed on to the unload area.

Today was busy for a mid week day and I think tomorrow is going to be the busiest day of the season so far. Be prepared, don't turn up at 10:00 and complain there are no spaces left in the car park!

Graeme

The ptarmigan bowl is wide and soft. The ciste bowl is now open but unpisted giving an intermediate level off piste area.


The ciste fairway is firm at the top and soft middle and bottom.


Skiing Lady Luck into the White Lady. It looked nice but was actually hard pack wind blown, only did this once.


The fiacaill area, by far the best area on the mountain, both sides of the fence was excellent deep off piste. Not powder any more, a bit heavy and not for the faint hearted or your first run of the season!.


Lower slopes have many ways down to the day lodge. The car park t-bar has been pisted and ready to use.








Edited 2 times. Last edit at 18.27hrs Fri 19 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Fiacaill.JPG (171kB)   Car Park.JPG (202kB)   Lady Luck.JPG (203kB)   Ciste.JPG (199kB)   Ptarmigan Bowl.JPG (191kB)  
WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.26hrs on Sat 20 Jan 18
A beautiful morning to stand in queues, sunny and cold, well what did you expect.

I must say I felt so sorry for some of the new lifties, especially the girl on the Fiacaill poma. Some how the queue got turned around and went down the stairs, across burnside and up the ramp to the car park. This was fine if you were coming from the day lodge or car park but not if you were trying to actually ski the runs! No one had told her the lift can load from two sides so the folks could ski the fiacaill and was sending them towards the carpark to take off their skis and walk back. A lot of very upset people. A quick word to her and she was full of apologies and things started to return to normal.

With great fanfare the west wall poma opened to the public then with a puff, hicup and grunt it broke down numerous times. It has not run with full loading since it was extended and the the teething problems were evident. I hope it behaves like the Fiacaill. Yesterday it broke down a lot for its first day but now is running fairly well. Heres hopping the WWP behaves tomorrow.

With numerous quality ways down to the base station, M2-Daylodge, Fiacaill Ridge, Jeans Bowl, Burnside and the car park run. The fiacaill tow and train were under strain. The train queue was out and zigzaging around the car park.

There has been no fresh snow but the temperatures have remained very cold keeping the quality high where pisted but as you would expect with the very high volume of traffic the runs were being scraped in some areas.

Over yonder is quite narrow and was well scraped by the end of the day. The queue to the WWP was occasionally quite extensive so I kept away as much as I could. Surprisingly the ptarmigan and ciste tows were reasonable for queues, possibly as it was bitterly cold at the top with freezing fog moving in in the afternoon but also many were top to bottom skiing.

The M1 tow, well the race training program has started, just keep away unless you like swarms of 10 - 16 year olds full of self importance pushing and shoving. When they were not there is was actually quite civilised. The queue was mainly self managing with most knowing the strange multi line system. And even a few, after you, no after you going on, polite society is not dead, well not yet, just wait for mid term.

The skiing was good, cold snow, soft were pisted and quite abundant. If you are coming up tomorrow be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait.

People pictures going on face book later
[www.facebook.com]

Graeme


Over view of the front of the mountain


Looking over to the zigzags from the fiacaill poma


The M2 is still the intermediate dream, the problem is still the day lodge which is scraped and ice at the mid to bottom.


Take heed of the signs, there be sea monsters beyond this point. Otherwise know as the west wall poma bucking bronco.


The west wall poma, good snow on the tow track. The Aonoch Bowl looks good but is very slabby, not good at all. I will let a few boarders to track it out before I try again.











Edited 2 times. Last edit at 18.39hrs Sat 20 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: M2.JPG (164kB)   Over Yonder.JPG (215kB)   WWP.JPG (176kB)   Zig Zags.JPG (210kB)   Over view.JPG (196kB)  
bogbiker


Posts: 110
Joined: Feb 2009
Last Visited: 18:33
9th Apr 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 21.53hrs on Sat 20 Jan 18
Windy, do you have any idea why the Cas still isnít running? There appears to be plenty of snow on the up track and itís absence was really felt today.

WindyMiller


Posts: 654
Joined: Sep 2010
Last Visited: 17:22
22nd Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 07.20hrs on Sun 21 Jan 18
bogbiker Wrote:
Windy, do you have any idea why the Cas still isnít running? There appears to be plenty of snow on the up track and itís absence was really felt today.


I am not sure. I thought it was ready and just needed the unload area shaped by the machines. The run down skiers left of the fence has been pisted and was being used as the preferred route by most. I also thought the car park tow was ready too. Both of these would have helped significantly yesterday.

Graeme

TroutWrestler


Posts: 147
Joined: Jan 2006
Last Visited: 21:20
20th Jun 2019
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 07.30hrs on Sun 21 Jan 18
I'm in the Cas carpark just now. The wind has strengthened considerably over the last 45 minutes with some considerable gusts.

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