A Saturday for a lie in and brunch... Maybe Sunday?
There's been a fair bit of new snow in the West and on CairnGorm, much more to come - but also storm force winds and a brief mild blip Saturday morning. Sunday a bit more promising, but forecast still changing...
Get an early weather check with our on mountain webcams, they'll update around 5.30am on Saturday, but from 6.30 on Sunday when the clocks go forward to BST.
There's been some fantastic sliding with a good covering of fresh snow at Nevis, Glencoe and CairnGorm this week, Friday was another fine day after a stormy one on Thursday. Alas it's all change for the weekend with Saturday now looking particularly stormy and pretty unpleasant overhead to go with the Severe Gales.
Heavy snow should set in from the West overnight as a deepening low pressure slams into the Northern Highlands, with the triple point to the North of the snowsports areas the freezing level is expected to get above the tops of all five Highland Snowsports areas for at least a few hours tomorrow morning giving a snow to rain and back to snow transition through the day. Over the weekend we are potentially looking at 50cm of snow on some Western mountains, but with almost an inch of rain chucked in as well for some spots!
It does make for a pretty horrible looking Saturday, uplift is likely to be severely restricted at best unless the forecasts have the track of the low wrong, but it's a very outside chance now! The forecast wind speeds are above marginal even for the CairnGorm Funicular and while Glencoe's main area has a relative degree of shelter from SW winds by the bulk of Meall a' Bhuiridh, the Plateau and Access Chair can get even stronger gusts funnelling around the mountainside.
Check the latest in the morning and if you do need an early start on the road, check on the go and be prepared to turn around or change plans. If you've got an Android phone it's a good morning to have the Winterhighland Android app installed!
Check out the Pix from the Slopes for some photos and more detailed reports from Glencoe and CairnGorm Mountain mid-week.
Weather permiting West is Best for more experienced skiers and boarders. The natural snow fields that form the main upper and mid mountain runs at Glencoe are in great shape with a wide and deep base, thus the vast majority of runs are open. The Plateau Poma run is narrow in places, but the Poma uptrack is in good shape and easy to ride. There are options further out on the Plateau that allow the keen to ski down to around 1500ft still! The blue Access Run will take you out to the corner of the red bike track, down which a 5min hoof will take you to the Carpark if you want a final run instead of downloading on the Access Chair.
Main Basin has been superb on the groomers, perfect for playing out big turns on. Flypaper has been open and had fresh snow on a firm base, but will need assessed daily given the weather forecast as avalanche risk maybe an issue.
At Nevis Range the Summit is in decent shape and the Goose is wide, Fairway and Allt Sneachda are complete to the foot of the Quad, and the Rabbit Run is skiable again direct to the Top of the Gondola which much improves access around the front of the mountain. The beginner rope tow still has good cover for first timers and novices, and Roy Roy T-bar's greens and blues are in good shape.
Braveheart Chairlift was back in operation on Friday afternoon and is scheduled for the weekend, but uplift to the upper mountain looks unlikely on Saturday.
CairnGorm has great cover in the Top Basin and on Coire Cas, but it's mainly green and a couple of blue runs, plus the White Lady for more advanced skiers/boarders. Definitely the best option for early intermediates and for park action, can ski to Daylodge via Fiacaill Ridge (follow blue poles) and with care via Carpark Uptrack.
Most runs have a partial base at the Lecht and not much snow is needed to get the Snowy Owl, Grouse and Falcon back in operation. Glenshee is closed.
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.
In England the Lake District Ski Club's Raise Poma was open on Friday with good riding reported, but it will not open Saturday given the poor forecast. Note you MUST be a member of the club to use the Poma and it's about an hour from the road. See website for full info.
None of the other English Club Fields currently have snow.
In Southern Scotland, Lowther Hill is forecast to get at least some snow, but it will be closer to the much milder air and it looks like it may alternate between snow and rain during the coming days. Keep an eye on the forecasts though, the main Lowther Hill Rope Tow is now fully operational. See www.skiclub.lowtherhills.com
Please check each club's website for updates and details of access to club facilities and memberships before travelling!
Yad Moss: www.yadmoss.co.uk
01388 317 767.
Our on mountain webcams are now updating around 5.40am if you require an early weather check.
CAIRNGORM: Our SSC Cams are struggling to get a data connection again and have been intermittent since maintenance downtime on Aviemore macrocell. No signal at hut this afternoon.
AVIEMORE: All 3 cams are online and functioning normally.
GLENCOE: All cams are online, but slightly reduced frequency due to working over a temporary connection. Base AWS is back to full range of data.
NEVIS: Mid Goose webcam is online.
Blizzards will develop overnight as frontal precipitation pushes into the Western Mountains, but soon after dawn it's expected to be raining at all levels in the West as the warm sector pushes in, there is a risk of heavy rain falling in sub zero temperatures for a spell as the front edges in leaving pools of colder air behind for a time. Through the early part of the morning the snow level will rise in the East also, but by late morning / lunchtime it should be snowing on the upper slopes in the West again. Severe Gale or even Storm Force SW wind will veer Westerly and then slowly start to moderate during the afternoon, but widely 50 gusting 80mph, and perhaps 60 gusting 90mph for a time and around the CairnGorm Plateau gusts to 100mph possible. FL rising above the tops, before falling back. Around mid-day expecting 0°c on Western Mountains and +2°c in the Cairngorms at Munro Level.
Conditions are now looking less severe for Sunday, though still blustery with squally snow showers giving poor or very poor visibility, these showers liable to merge together into some longer spells of snow in the West. We could see total accumulations in the region of 50cm on some Western mountains, but some of that will be reversed in the rain on Saturday morning.
On Sunday we are now expecting Westerly winds around 20 to 40mph in the West, 30 gusting 50mph further East, but a small risk a small low will develop more markedly giving stronger winds particularly in the afternoon. Snow should fall to or below the lower slopes with -1 to -2°c expected at Munro Level.
A similar day to Sunday due on Monday with further snow showers again most frequent in the West and perhaps slightly colder with -2 to -3°c expected at Munro Level. SW winds 20 to 30, gusting 40 occasionally 50mph.
Current indications are for a severe day on Tuesday, though some disagreement in the models as to how severe. Storm Force winds look likely though, but a risk they could attain Hurricane Force if the low develops as much as the GFS is indicating. Widespread whiteout on the mountains, with -4 to -5°c expected at Munro Level, and if correct that means even some major routes could be affected by fairly severe drifting.
A hint that the recent trend for fantastic Wednesday's might continue into April, it looks as if a chilly day with sunny spells and snow showers and a steadily moderating wind at this stage, so keep an eye on that. Snow fall accumulations of up to 80cm are being indicated for the Western mountains over the coming 96 hours so it could be a massive Wednesday!
Looking ahead with Easter coming up the trend is now developing for the cool unsettled weather to give way into the weekend with high pressure building over Highland Scotland. Could we be that lucky for a holiday weekend? Keep watching...
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
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