pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Monday 22nd December 2008
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The Ptarmigan Bowl from the foot of the T-bar.

The Ptarmigan Bowl where Sunday's hair drier reduced the relatively narrow cover to strips and patches.

Ski Class near the top of the Fairway. Soft snow in the afternoon.

Boarder in the Cas Gunbarrel, reasonably flat and pisted with spring snow for the top half.

Lower half of the Gunbarrel is much narrower and banked. Fun sport when soft, but a survival course while the snow was hard.

Looking down the Traverse which has a decent cover. Can carry on past the 105 and drop down the obvious link to the Cas proper

Looking down an now empty narrow Coire Cas at the end of the day - don't be fooled by the long exposure shots, it was practically dark!

Looking up the top most part of the Cas from the same spot. Tow offloading below the top due to very narrow icy off-ramp area.

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Unfortunately the mist came down when the camera came out this afternoon, though perhaps for those of a nervous disposition that's a good thing. When we got to Saturday through the worst of the forecast thaw conditions with a really promising base and some decent sport on the upper and mid mountain things were looking up with a forecast of settled dry weather ahead.

Alas, the high pressure didn't quite move as planned on Sunday sucking in a massively wide and very mild warm sector, while squeezing the pressure gradient and ramping up the wind speeds once again - this was the hair drier left on high. The Ptarmigan Bowl is hanging by a thread and the Ciste Bowl requires some grass skiing for navigation!

CairnGorm is still able to offer limited snowsports, but the runs which remain open are noticeably narrower than Sat. The Ciste Fairway is mostly 3 machine widths wide, 2 lower down and would be reasonable but for a developing head wind on Mon afternoon. The Traverse is also in fairly decent shape, but somehow there was a head wind there too. Thus the best riding today was on the Cas, it's narrow but the snow was getting more spring like. The Gunbarrel softened up but it was still a bit slick in a few places and is very narrow.

There is just a complete line down the M1 RaceTrack and out by Horizon Road to the Cas, but you need to swap to the outside of the fence line through a narrow crossover gap to skiers right at one point.

Snow was soft wet snow up top on a firm base, slightly more spring like on Coire Cas and the M1. The snowpack was beginning to skin over in bits out of the wind at dusk, so the thaw was slowing despite mild temps. Clearing skies later in the night are expected, a ground frost is thus likely to set the snow up hard by opening time. Firm grippy snow on the Cas. hardpacked up top and lower Gunbarrel likely first thing Tues.

If you have been out please send photos to pix2009@winterhighland.info .
Pix from the Slopes for the 2009 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Yad Moss


Southern Cairngorms

Nevis Range

The Lecht


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