pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Friday 10th January 2014
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Chicken Gully has great cover and lovely snow on Friday, notice the huge depth drifted below top Zig Zag.

Carpark Runs are thin and narrow but easily passable for Top to Daylodge riding.

Fiacaill Run was good as was the Fiacaill Traverse. Depending on surface conditions Fiacaill Traverse, Crossover and onto Fiacaill Ridge is a decent way home.

Lunchtime snow showers cleared and things brightened up and the wind eased back in the afternoon. Top of Ptarmigan Tow.

White Lady had well pisted firm but grippy snow which took an edge well.

Top of the old direct tow line of the White Lady, fantastic pisted snow with windblown fresh on top. Made Lady pick of the day.

Boarder hits the pipe jib in Coire Cas.

Not so much hitting as levitating over the pipe jib!

Wide long rail in the Cas Park.

Looking up Coire Cas, great cover and 2 boxes as well as rail and pipe jib laid out inside the T-bar.

Top leg of Zig Zag loaded, looking over to the Fiacaill. All four legs complete, but Gunbarrel filled pretty flat.

The force of the storms - snow fencing on Horizon Road ripped clean out of the ground and flung down the hill, go carefully here!

Top of the Traverse is banked out into a wide motorway.

Total cover across the Top Basin and a nice layer of fresh snow on the firm grippy well pisted base.

Large new Matrix sign has appeared on the direction sign and map outside the Ptarmigan Restaurant.

Looking promising, Ciste Gully Complete, West Wall Poma track complete, the Wall itself loaded and the Ryvoan / Chair Run loaded too.

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Friday turned out not a bad day at all, snow showers packed in for a spell around lunchtime with a freshening wind. This put the Ciste Tow and M1 Poma off, but early afternoon the cloud started to break up again and the wind fell away.

The Ciste Tow and M1 Poma came back on again and it was a mostly fine afternoon with bright spells and the occasional further light snow shower later on. The decent afternoon sets the scene for the weather expected on Saturday, lighter winds, bright or sunny spells and the chance of the occasional snow shower.

Surface conditions varied around the mountain with aspect, altitude and time of day - so exploring the mountain is the way to go to find the best conditions on Saturday. Fresh windblown snow in the Top Basin gave a nice pisted layer on a grippy groomed base.

Mid mountain the Traverse and Cas were softer, while the M1 and Lady were firm, but both were pretty grippy. Even as the temperature dropped at dusk though the Lady got faster and a bit harder it was still taking an edge nicely. Low down the Lady mid-afternoon there was even a bit of springish snow for a time off the groomed line! It was one of those days for finding a bit of everything.

Pick of the day was the full length of the White Lady, starting by heading skiers right of the Ptarmigan Restaurant and following the direct route that formerly run beside the old T-bar. This was largely unused Friday, but had beautiful pisted snow with windblown fresh on top, opening out onto the White Lady proper, the full length can be obtained by riding out to the Home Road and dropping over it and taking a sharp left from Sheiling Gully towards the Sheiling Tow. Return to the top from the base either by the Fiacaill Ridge and M1 Poma or Funicular (or if open the Daylodge and West Wall Pomas).

On the lower slopes the Carpark Runs are thin and narrow, but the new fencing has helped reduce the impact of the milder spell earlier in the week and it's still easily ridable to the Daylodge giving the full Cas side vertical.

The Ciste side looks promising and the West Wall Poma was being worked on during the afternoon - check the latest lift status with CML in the morning on that one.
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