Grab the shades and the opportunity for one more day of fine weather for some spring riding on Tuesday. Rain moving in by Wednesday. CairnGorm is the option of easier terrain, Glencoe and Nevis for more experienced riders.
Another warm day for March with unbroken Sunshine across Highland Scotland. The air is a bit more humid and you could see that was leading to a faster thaw of lying snow today, but it should firm up overnight under relatively clear skies and light winds.
CairnGorm, Glencoe and Nevis Range are able to offer limited snowsports mainly on upper mountain terrain and for the most part lower / mid lifts that are running are principally for access to and from higher terrain.
Another diurnal thaw / freeze cycle should mean a further morphing in the direction of the snowpack towards granular spring snow and part cloudy skies and slightly cooler temperatures should keep the snow a bit more crunchy and granular on Tuesday in the West.
If you are looking for easier terrain then head to CairnGorm Mountain where the Top Basin greens are still holding together reasonably well off the Ciste and Ptarmigan T-bars, but there are more options for more experienced riders in the West at present. Please note that both Glencoe and Nevis Range are really only currently suitable for confident intermediates and above as the open terrain is a mix of blue, red and black and coming back down from higher levels requires obligatory red runs in both cases at the moment.
Unfortunately thaw conditions are set to accelerate by mid week as damper air and fresher winds move in as our high pressure slips away. So the message is simple, get up Tuesday if you want to slide this week.
Glencoe had the Plateau Poma (for access), Cliffhanger Chair and Main Basin T-bar up and running Monday, the same are scheduled for Tuesday. The Plateau Poma run is broken at the top and bottom so is really running for access and a 60m or so walk is required from the top of the Poma to regain the snow on Old Mugs Alley which was still skiable to the Plateau Cafe.
Once up on the upper mountain the Main Basin and Happy Valley are in decent shape though both are narrow in places and some worn bits are developing by the afternoon in the Happy Valley narrows. Both these can be lapped continuously of the Main Basin T-bar.
For more experienced skiers at the end of the day take the Spring Run cutting right out to Rankin's Return, you can still get to within about 150m of the top of the Access Chair. The Wall is the best option for dropping down to the Plateau Cafe for experienced skiers and boarders.
Nevis Range has decent cover on the Summit Runs and Upper Goose, but the lower half of the Goose area is becoming patchy and the Tow may need to load at Tower 4, which would mean access is only possible via the Quad Chair rather than the Alpha. The Quad Chair is the recommended route up and down from the upper mountain.
The Back Corries caught significant amounts of windblown snow last week and the dover improved markedly, though from a very low tide so still significant exposed rock bands and various hazards. Speak to patrol before venturing beyond the front of the mountain for the latest info. It is currently possible to ski out most of the length of Rob Roy's Return, but the snow was visibly retreating on it.
On CairnGorm the main action is in the Top Basin. there is a single route most of the way back to the mid-station via the Traverse and Coire Cas, nut walking is required from the corner of the top Zig Zag back to the Funicular, so though there are features in the Cas Shred it's not possible to directly lap it from the lifts.
There is snow in the Ciste Gully and the Marquis Well area for those willing to hike or with touring kit that want to have a day partly on the lifts but expand the skiable terrain a bit under their own leg power.
Glenshee and the Lecht remain closed for snowsports.
High Pressure is beginning to slip away though it is a slower process than originally forecast prior to the weekend, so another dry day on Tuesday. The Northern Cairngorms and West Highlands from Glencoe North should hang onto the best of the Sunny Spells, temps will be a degree or two cooler with a light SE wind in the East and light and variable wind in the West Highlands.
Damp, mild with fresher winds from mid-week with a sustained thaw of lying snow at all elevations for the remainder of the week. There are indications that high pressure will be beginning to ridge back into the Western Highlands for next weekend, but if anything lasts it will be very limited terrain on the upper most runs. Fingers crossed, but while not ferocious winds, the combination of rain showers, mild temperatures and persistent strong to gale force winds look like real snow eating conditions.
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
Optimised for speedy access to the essential information from Scotland's five snowsports areas on even the slowest mobile connections our new Android app is the easiest way to keep tabs with what's happening on the move and now includes Lowther Hills Ski Club.
We have added a new webcam in Leadhills in conjunction with the Hopetoun Arms Hotel and Lowther Hills Ski Club.
CAIRNGORM: SSC and Loch Morlich webcams are online. Loch Morlich AWS is back online for temperature.
AVIEMORE: Aviemore, Inverdruie and Loch Morlich cams online.
GLENCOE: All mountain and base cams online. SSC AWS is temperature only.
NEVIS: Temporarily no power at Braveheart, other webcams are online.
Glencoe: 01855 851226 www.glencoemountain.co.uk
Nevis Range: 01397 705825 www.nevisrange.co.uk
Lecht: 01975 651440 www.lecht.co.uk
CairnGorm: 01479 861261 www.cairngormmountain.co.uk
Glenshee: 013397 41320 www.ski-glenshee.co.uk