pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Saturday 20th December 2008
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On the 105, firm grippy base with a looser surface here.

Looking out over the Northern Corrie's crags from the Traverse.

Boarder in the Gunbarrel which is banked out like a natural 1/4 pipe in the mid-section.

Looking down the lower Gunbarrel to the Lower Slopes below. Just possible to get to the foot of the Carpark Tow without removing skis.

Looking up the Upper Cas to the Headwall. Loose granular snow on a hard packed base giving the odd icy patch. Good roller where the road crosses.

Looking over the Ciste Bowl from the Ciste T-bar. The poles mark a hole blown in the snow by burn during yesterday afternoons rain! Beware!

Coire Na Ciste from the Ciste Carpark. A promising base in the Gully and on the main snowfield of the West Wall, even the poma track is complete, but alas no viable route from the runs to the Poma.

Looking up over Burnside to CairnGorm, White Lady, M1, Cas Gunbarrel visible on the mid-mountain. These mid-mountain runs are complete but fairly narrow.

Sledge Park outside the Ptarmigan. Sledge hire tickets can be bought from the Shop at the Top.

Trainer Tow Poma otherwise known as the Polar Express! Reasonable cover around it for learning, not to hard packed in the Bowl.

Looking up the Ptarmigan Bowl. The Ptarmigan Tow made it's season debut today.

Top of the Ptarmigan Tow mid-afternoon, cold windchill at the top of the Ptarmigan, little wind elsewhere in the afternoon.

Boarders heading out from the Top Station to gear up as dusk falls. Clouds approaching herald another storm system for tonight and Sunday.

Looking back to the Ptarmigan from the M1/Traverse split on the final run of the day.

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After a very stormy Friday and overnight period the winds slowly moderated during Sat morning and by early afternoon there was relatively little wind away from the top of the Ptarmigan Tow, with plenty of blue sky to give a fairly decent afternoon's sliding.

The very mixed up weather has given a mix of snow conditions and while the base is now hard packed and solid, only in the Gunbarrel was the surface getting scrapped and icy, lower down. Generally a mix of firm but grippy snow with areas of windblown granular snow that resembles something like a cross between powder and spring snow!

All Top Basin and main Cas Side middle runs are complete, but the cover on the open runs is generally fairly narrow. However there is a good base in the key areas and the snow was riding better than might have been expected after yesterday's weather.

The best run on Sat afternoon was the direct route of the Ptarmigan, through the Bowl and down the Ciste Bowl to the Ciste Tow, with machine groomed granular snow on a firm base giving smooth turns.

Similar snow on the mid Cas into the upper Gunbarrel which snares you in with flat loose snow giving nice carves and just when you think your in a rhythm, the Gunbarrel bites back suddenly narrowing into a natural quarter pipe, where the snow was significantly harder by the end of the day.

For more advanced riders the M1 via Horizon Road is in reasonable shape and mostly full width between the fences, the lower M1 is passable but narrow. White Lady is complete to the mid-station via the 'skirt'. There is no snow on the approach to the M1 Poma from the Gunbarrel, there is a matted track but don't hit this at any sort of speed.

It's just possible to ski to the Daylodge level without removing your skis with careful route selection by cutting back to the Tow from the top of Burnside. However Burnside will give more gracious final turns, but you will need to unclip and walk down the path about 100yards on the corner by the burn. Beats taking the train down, but only suitable for more advanced riders.

During Friday a gust of wind of 194mph was recorded at the Tunnel Mouth!!
Pix from the Slopes for the 2009 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Yad Moss


Southern Cairngorms

Nevis Range

The Lecht


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