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pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Saturday 12th February 2011
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M1 Poma under afternoon bluebird sky.

Funicular heads to the tunnel from the upper White Lady.

M1 Poma and the White Lady from the foot of the Cas T-bar.

Top leg of the Zig Zags, Lady & M1 in the distance.

Skiers on the steeper pitch of the M2 just above the right turn for the Aonach Bowl.

Heading along the Aonach Ridge fence line to the Ciste Carpark.

Droping down the lower snowfields of the Aonach Ridge to the Ciste Carpark.

Aonach Bowl was my pick of the day, stayed great all day and didn't get scrapped like parts of the M2.

Is that a hint of bumps developing on the White Lady?

Looking over the Ptarmigan Bowl. Fantastic conditions up top with machine packed powder.

Ciste Fairway and the West Wall Poma.

Ciste Gully offering good sport for advanced riders, windblown fresh on a hard but grippy base.

View out to the Fiacaill Buttress, site of one of 3 human triggered avalanches on Saturday.

Patches of mist linger below as a skier heads down the M2 on Sat morning.

Ciste Fairway earlier in the day, machine packed powder up top.

Sheiling area of the Carpark Runs from the Cas loading gantry.

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Overnight saw several inches of fresh snow fall on storm force Southerly winds, though the wind abated by opening time the evidence of the high winds was clear to see in the form of the elongated little drifts behind the boulders on the open slopes.

The new windblown snow further freshened up the surface conditions giving a layer of machine packed powdery corduroy to start the day. Top Basin was in fantastic shape. Some of the steeper middle runs had some scrapped and icy patches develop with sheer weight of the skier traffic later in the day but the piste bashers were at work by dusk and more snow and gales are forecast for overnight.

The snow and wind meant a high avalanche risk and there were 2 triggered slides on the Goat Track and Fiacaill Buttress early on Saturday, this was followed later by an apparently boarder triggered slide on the Cas Headwall near it's juncture with Coronation Wall. More snow and wind overnight will add to the instabilities, so play safe.

The Ciste Gully was open on Saturday but both side walls closed, the Gully had a layer of windblown fresh on a firm to hard, but grippy base. The M2 was a sweet cruise in the morning, but by late afternoon the loose snow was getting scrapped nearer the fences. The Aonach Bowl was consistently good all day and had a lovely layer of unpisted fresh on a previously pisted base.

Coire Cas was offering fantastic riding for intermediates up both on the main run and in the boulderfield area. Machines were working on the Fiacaill Terrain Park throughout the day. Lower 105 stayed perfect all day as almost everyone drops into the Gunbarrel.

Top to Daylodge riding with generally decent cover on the Carpark Run via Burnside with the exception of some thin bits at the very bottom (good to the Top Bridge).

Experts who know the terrain can in good visibility ski to the Ciste Carpark via the Aonach Ridge, cut of Overyonder as high as possible to skiers left to join the Aonach Ridge fence line - from there observe the snow lie and pick your route through the low lying snow fields (this is why you need the visibility). It was firm and grippy snow on Saturday.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2011 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

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