A stormy and progressively colder week ahead... Keep up the snow dances!
Further thaw of lying snow in warm and windy conditions on Sunday afternoon. Very limited snowsports maybe possible on CairnGorm Mountain on Monday, but routes to mid-station may involve some walking. Will be assessed AM and wind could affect uplift.
Only CairnGorm was able to offer limited snowsports on Sunday after Glenshee finally succumbed to the the ongoing thaw through Saturday after both CairnGorm and Glenshee offered up not too bad a day on Friday with good weather conditions making up for limited snow cover.
A day of rain showers turning to snow showers at some point during the afternoon on Monday for CairnGorm Mountain and gusty wind - possibly gusts 60mph to as high as 80mph depending on which forecast model you look at. Thus even if enough snow survives the night to run uplift for snowsports, the wind might prevent the Ptarmigan Tow from running.
Access to the M1 Poma really required unclipping and walking in if you cared about what you were riding on and it's likely that broken sections will have to be navigated to get to the mid-station via either the White Lady or the Traverse / Cas routes by Monday morning. With the wind quite likely to limit uplift to the Funicular, if there is much in the way overnight thawing then it could well be that CairnGorm is also backing to the waiting game - so check the latest official report in the morning.
If any lift served snowsports is possible on Monday it will be very limited and ticket sales are likely to be equally limited as we move into the second week of the half term period and Highland Schools long weekend. The Sheiling Shred has a couple of boxes and rails just below the mid-station for playing on.
Glencoe is offering tubing on the dryslope daily during half term from 12-4pm (again weather permitting). Ski and Board lessons for novices are available on the dry slope in the morning - please book in advance. Options for sledging are getting limited and require a 200m walk up from the Plateau Cafe for the last reasonable length of patch on Old Mugs Alley. Also a windy day with rain showers forecast, so check chair status AM.
Nevis Range are also offering beginner lessons on their dry slope, with the Alpha Button for uplift for ski school, but high winds are forecast for much of the week that could affect the Gondola.
Following some wild swings in temperature to start the week some significant snow is expected from a deep storm system forecast to track across Scotland later in the week. Exact detail is yet to be nailed on, but latest model runs indicate the heaviest precipitation crossing the Central Highlands and it being cold enough for snow on the mountains with much colder air digging in behind.
Monday is wetter, windier and still mild until an abrupt drop in temperature during the afternoon. Severe Gale West winds with gusts to or above 80mph. However, it will abruptly turn cold behind a sharp cold front late afternoon or early evening and a period of heavy snow fall and mountain blizzards overnight above around 2000 to 2500ft is expected.
However this will revert to rain to gradually higher levels pre or soon after dawn on Tuesday as the warm front associated with another low sweeps in. Strong winds will be less severe than on Monday and overnight, but the FL is likely to be above the summits through daylight hours Tuesday (though timing is uncertain on this).
Current early indications for Wednesday is that as with the previous nights there will be an abrupt temperature drop as a cold front sweeps through, this will lead to blizzard conditions for Western Coastal ranges on Wednesday with Severe Gale to Storm Force W to WNW wind, snow showers will push East giving periodic whiteout for the Cairngorms. Minus 1°c at Munro Level AM, lowering -3°c from the West.
As above, this is set to be followed by another storm system currently projected to score a direct hit and track across the Central or Southern Highlands with cyclonically variable Severe Gales along the track and potentially Storm Force Easterlies / Westerlies to the North / South of the low respectively.
Unfortunately the forecast is pretty bad if you are wanting to get out into the hills for half term activities, but for those looking to get their boards and skis back out there is at least some hint of a light at the end of the tunnel.
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.
AVIEMORE: Aviemore, Inverdruie and Loch Morlich cams online.
GLENCOE: Summit camera has been replaced. All cams now online.
NEVIS: New Summit and additional Goose camera online. The Braveheart camera will be put back into service when conditions are suitable for accessing the site with the necessary equipment.
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