pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Sunday 8th February 2009
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Meall a' Bhuachaille sparkles in the sun from the M2. Great touring potential from the glens up.

Motorway standard Ciste Fairway, great machined packed powder.

The sign says it all.

Ciste Fairway. Top Basin tows were not particularly busy till lunchtime.

Neatly lined up bottles sit on the external rafter of the Ptarmigan. Was Rafael Nadal skiing on CairnGorm today?

Top Basin from Base4. Ciste Bowl sweetest packed powder, beautiful turns for getting into a rhythm for the Ciste Gully.

Beginner classes in the Ptarmigan Bowl, learning at the top of the mountain is the way to go on days like this.

Looking out over a snow Strath from the top of the Ptarmigan Tow. Where are the fences?

Ptarmigan Restaurant and half a snowy Loch Morlich (the ice is not that thick due to the snow insulating the loch).

Daylodge Poma. Powder bumps between the fences lower half. Less tracked further out for the Poma, to skiers right just make sure you don't overshot and end up well below the DLP.

Lower M2 approaching the Daylodge Poma and OverYonder split. Tracks head out to the Aonach Ridge and the route to the Ciste Carpark.

Looking down the Daylodge Run. Off piste lines on the East Lady all the way from Lady Luck to the Daylodge Poma!

Going back up the DLP, queue was never more than a few minutes despite looking longer at times as DLP was on rocket fuel today! Some spectacular lift offs!

Looking across to the Daylodge Poma and beyond to Lochan and Lurcher's Gully.

Tracked up freshies above the entrance to the Cas carpark. Possible to head further and further out onto the Windy Ridge to find fresh lines, either traverse back to the DLP or drop round to the Ciste if Shuttle Bus on.

Ski Patrol remove the rope that means the West Wall Poma is open!! :) (It then promptly jammed as sliding hangers wrapped themselves round a tower ).

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Sunday dawned flat calm and largely clear with a sharp frost, down to -15°c by Loch Morlich.

A day of classic mid-winter sport was in prospect and unsurprisingly the hordes were heading for the 'Gorm from stupid o'clock. The lower surface lifts were on by 8am and run till 5pm, enough to give anyone burning thighs and a massive smile. Basically on all runs and indeed much of the mountain the cover is wide and deep, with a mix of machine and/or skier packed powder, skier tracked or windblown fresh powder. Excellent riding for all ability levels.

Queues came and went, the M1 Poma being the worst offender. Patience might be a virtue, but a bit of imagination and observation get you a lot more sliding. Mid morning the Funicular was a surprisingly good bet. Top Basin lifts were also lacking on the queue front in the morning.

Despite the Daylodge Piste being amongst the busiest in terms of numbers sliding in a given space, the wait for the DLP was never more than a few minutes, it simply munched the queue and spat the occasional slider out in a heap! Between the fences was great fun with powder bumps building.

Riding to the Ciste Carpark via the Aonach Ridge and Laogh Mor Return, don't attempt these alone or in poor viz if you are unfamilar with the terrain.

On Sunday both the Cas and Ciste Carparks were full. Some parked down at Glenmore and got the bus up, thus driving down this evening the unusual sight of skiers and boarders heading through the trees for cars parked in Glenmore. For experts willing to walk to the top of the Marquis Well's snow field at the summit, a decent to Glenmore will notch up 3000ft of vertical!
Pix from the Slopes for the 2009 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Yad Moss

Glenshee

Southern Cairngorms

Nevis Range

The Lecht

Glencoe

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