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pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Wednesday 16th May 2012
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Ahem... and yes that binding is pointing back up hill!

Laying out some turns on the Coronation Wall.

High on Coronation Wall looking over the Plateau Rim.

On the marked traverse to Coronation Wall looking down on the Ciste Tow and Top Station.

Coronation Wall open today, but check in the morning. Follow black poles from top of Ptarmigan Tow.

Getting another run in the secret powder stash above the 105, but watch out for 'sharks'.

Riders on the Ptarmigan Ridge, scoured at the very top, but excellent powder once over the crest.

Looking down a fantastic Ciste Bowl as the remains of a snow shower clear.

End of the road in Coire Cas, get here via Chicken Gully. This is just below M1 Poma which is scheduled Thursday.

Looking down the pisted M1 RaceTrack, firm grippy base with loose fresh on top, superb turns.

Looking over Coire Cas from the now not so secret powder stash between the M1/Traverse split and 105.

Cranking up the turns below the Traverse in sweet powder.

Moody skies warn of an approaching snow shower at the top of the Ptarmigan Tow.

The Traverse is in fantastic condition, Upper Cas in good shape too and freshies in the Cas Boulderfield.

Tidying up the Terrain Park for a new day on the Ciste Fairway.

A good turnout for mid-week, let alone mid-week, mid May, but this was the longest queue, mostly ride on.

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The weather didn't quite read the forecast script on Wednesday, the chance of a light snow flurry became frequent beefy snow showers with some hail thrown in during the heavier ones as anticipated cap failed to keep a lid on the convective showers.

However when your riding powder and making fresh tracks on CairnGorm Mountain the 16th of May, you can't really complain too much about a bit more snow falling. Indeed, since these photos were sorted out, the webcams reveal 2 inches or so of fresh this evening - radar suggests 3 further up and the NMM mesoscale model suggests another 2inches could be possible overnight, certainly the radar indicates a good deal of precipitation upwind of CairnGorm at 9.30pm.

Slight drifting continued to blow more snow into the Top Basin which is in fantastic condition with ride anywhere cover across the Ptarmigan Bowl and Ptarmigan Ridge areas. The crest of the ridge is windscoured, but there are some areas of superb powdery snow out that way and some exploring further along the ridge should be well rewarded on Thursday.

The upper reaches of the East Lady and the diagonal fall lines between the M1/Traverse split and the M1 were also holding freshies, with the later untouched till lunchtime on Wednesday.

Coronation Wall was open Wednesday meaning there is the full spectrum of terrain with green, blue, red and black offerings available as we move into the 2nd half of May. There are some rocks lurking below the fresh so beware - personal wipeout of the season on Coronation Wall after a ski stopped dead and launched an un-intended forward-flip that ended ramming a ski so hard into the snowpack it was difficult to get out!

Some walking is required to regain both the Funicular and M1 Poma, the shortest hoof is via Chicken Gully and the Zig Zag crossover, then a hop over the Gumbarrel burn and walk through the M1 queuing area. Well worth it for fresh tracks in mid May and no such issues in the Top Basin. Chicken Gully might be a bit rough and rutted first thing, it is very narrow, but the new snow tonight may help.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2012 Season
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