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pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Friday 16th April 2004
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Even the Gunbarrel's infamous boiler plate base couldn't resist the torrent below with the heavy rain earlier in the week.

A depressing sight, Coire Cas, one of the most reliable runs in Scotland reduced to this mid April. A tow that until the mid 90's hadn't failed to run in May since the late 60's!

Traverse remains in good shape, lovely spring snow, but is now a run to nowhere.

Fiacaill Buttress and Northern Coires from the Summit.

Looking out from CairnGorm Mountain towards Macdui, still scope for Plateau touring.

Scotty to Enterprise: Beam that snow to Coire Cas....

View from the Top, looking over Sneachda and the Fiacaill Buttress to Braeriach. Plenty snow on the tops still for high level spring touring.

Looking down the Marquis Well snowfield from the top, just short of the Summit. Top of Ciste Mearaedh mid-right of photo.

Well above the Terrain Park, looking up the Marquis Well snowfield. Sweet...

The terrain park viewed from above. Re-shaping work in progress for Saturday.

The 24ft kinked rail in the terrain park. Experts only!

Terrain park from below. Will host North 57 Demo and Comp Day on Saturday.

Cloud formations more interesting than the snow!! Very limited cover for mid-April, but what's there is good spring snow.

Boarder takes direct route into bowl, watch the ridge, don't come screaming down here first time

Who needs snow clouds... view this full size!

Ptarmigan Tow in Action, only for two more days though!

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A day of blazing sunshine one minute, snow the next on Friday. After the rapid thaw in mild wet weather earlier in the week, the good news is that colder conditions mean there has been no further snow loss up in the Top Basin, so reasonable if very limited spring snow sport will be available for the last weekend of the 2004 season. Only the Ptarmigan Tow is currently operating, the Terrain park still has various rails and kickers, and ample nursery areas are available in the Ptarmigan Bowl itself.

Beyond the ski area there is still plenty of scope for high level touring on the Plateau. However there is no getting away from the fact that, discounting last year which was a total weather freak, for the season to be ending mid-April with just the Ptarmigan Tow operational is very poor. Yet just a week ago winter was staging a comeback, but that's been the story of this season, one step forward, two back, with very dramatic swings and savage thaws, often following cold snowy weeks, without the normal freeze/thaw consolidation needed to get the base through such extremes. More than
anything 2004 will likely be remembered as a frustrating season; but for those who were in the right places at the right time some classic days were had.

Will summer 2004 live up to the high hopes after 2003? Well, before you find out, chuck the toys in the Car this weekend and go for one last slide!!

Photos by Winterhighland.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2004 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Glencoe

The Lecht

Glenshee

Nevis Range

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