All areas open again... Glencoe looks best for Tuesday.
With some new snow and drifting we have all five Highland Snowsport Ares open again to varying extents. Glencoe has had the most new snow and had the most base surviving the big storms, so with bright spells and scattered snow showers along with light winds looks the pick for Tuesday. Surface conditions on CairnGorm much improved with the fresh snow too.
Update 21: 30 - brief update to take account of encouraging changes in mesoscale model output for more snow, particularly Lecht and possibly more widely Northern 'Gorms Tuesday evening and night and West on Wednesday.
Good news on Monday in that we have all five Highland Snowsports Areas open again, though to varying extents. The West saw the heaviest hill snow Sunday into the evening and that set Glencoe up for a cracker of a Monday with decent spells of Sunshine above patchy inversion cloud with a mix of windblown fresh and machine packed powder surfaces on the groomed runs.
With Glencoe having held onto the most base in terms of terrain with something under the old snow in the recent big storms, most of the hill is now open and with a forecast for light winds, Sunny Spells and the occasional snow shower it's looking a good bet on Tuesday. The Spring Run and Main Basin have filled out on the upper mountain and along with the Wall and Canyon on the mid-mountain are now in the best shape these have been this winter.
Though the Cliffhanger Chair is out of action, with the new Coire Pollach Tow there's still more than there would have been in the past for green run skiers. Old Mugs Alley in great shape with the gully by the fences filled flat.
Nevis also picked up a decent amount of new snow and though there are still thin and narrow areas to link around the hill, it?s gone from not much more than the dryslope on the Alpha last week to back to the full on mountain vertical, with riding from the Summit to the Top of the Gondola. Back Corries are at limited patrol status, but it is possible to traverse out to the front now, please speak to patrol.
CairnGorm has picked up more snow than the radar suggests thanks to drifting off the higher areas, so though not much expansion of open terrain (Ciste Tow runs back in use) there has been a big improvement in the surface conditions which are now much fresher. Top Basin is in decent shape, if not a huge width of cover, but grooming up very nicely for early intermediates. White Lady, M1, Traverse /105 / Cas routes to mid-station open on the mid-mountain. Gunbarrel is in reasonable shape and the top two legs of the Zig Zags can be used to avoid most of it.
Unfortunately the Carpark Runs are not complete to the base, if that remains the case going into peak of half term the Funicular will be a major bottleneck - but there is a possibility of a change for the better Tuesday into Wednesday (see forecast discussion).
Most runs are skiable at the Lecht, but the thin cover of hardpacked snow got rained on this afternoon, which means it's likely to set up icy again in the morning. Cover is thin and worn, particularly on the Robin nursery run. Latest updates to the mesoscale models have again increased the snow potential for the Lecht Tuesday evening overnight into Wednesday, keep a close eye on the radar. There is a possibility if the trend is correct that the Lecht could get a decent fall coming in off the Moray Firth.
Glenshee have some Cairnwell runs open, but thin in places. Decent snow further up and out, but it doesn't quite connect together yet.
Lowther Hill Ski Club re-opened the village rope tow at Leadhills Golf Course on Sunday, but are now waiting for more snow.
Tuesday will see a light NW wind freshen to moderate which will later bring clusters of snow showers into the Northern Cairngorms where they merge together into a longer spell of snow into the evening, with the NMM and Euro 4 mesoscale models predicting the Lecht to catch the most new snow. Further South in the Cairngorms and in the West some decent Sunny spells between isolated snow showers during the day. Minus 3°c expected at Munro level, but dropping later in the day to -5°c from the West.
Latest forecast indications have slightly fresher winds overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and into Wednesday, including the remnants of a wrap around occlusion which will encourage development of convective snow shower clusters which will come into windward coastal hills.
The latest mesoscale guidance from the NMM and Euro show potential for a significant snow fall late Tuesday afternoon into the overnight period on hills exposed to onshore winds off the Moray Firth, the Lecht could see a significant snow fall but in such setups there can be quite a big local variation in snow fall due to the showery nature of the setup. It will be something of a nowcast situation and watching the radar!
Just how far into the Northern Cairngorms the showers will penetrate we will have to see, though the latest Met Office data is more encouraging for CairnGorm, getting enough to be able to ski to the Carpark and get even one lower tow running would make a massive difference.
A consequence of the slight change in synoptic situation is that the trailing end of the occlusion wrap around will bring snow showers into the West Highlands on Wednesday, there should still be some bright or Sunny spells but there could be clusters of heavy snow showers. Moderate NW wind shouldn't affect uplift anywhere on current projections, but with -3 to -5°c on the Munros it will feel very cold. There could be several inches of snow in some locations on the West Highlands during Wednesday, showers should ease in the Northern Cairngorms through Wed morning. NW 20 to 30 gusting 45mph, perhaps fresher in the early morning.
The trend is towards more precipitation for Tuesday night Wed, but given the nature of the setup, if onshore winds are slightly different or a bit weaker that will change the precipitation outlook again.
Current indications are for the wind to be between East and NE for Highland Scotland for the second half of the week with some snow showers feeding in, though potential precipitation amounts are uncertain. With the wind out of the NE quadrant the best of the Sunny Spells likely to be in the West. Freezing at most levels with -5 to -6°c at Munro Level, mostly moderate winds, but a risk of stronger winds in the East on Friday, but not everything is picking this up yet.
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
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CAIRNGORM: All SSC webcam views online.
AVIEMORE: Mountain Spirit webcam was damaged by a power spike when off site, we will restore service as soon as possible.
GLENCOE: All but Summit are online. There is no power at the Summit.
NEVIS: The Timing Hut webcam clock is out of sync and it?s not possible to rectify this remotely, but we are getting some daylight images every day.
LOWTHER HILL: Cams are running on a limited update cycle to conserve limited power.
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