pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Sunday 6th December 2009
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Ciste Fairway looking down from the tow crossover into the Ptarmigan Bowl.

Looking back up the Ciste Tow, drifting snow often obscuring terrain detail!

Lone boarder on the M1 RaceTrack. Saw quite a bit of action around the middle part of the day, but deteriorated in the strong wind become a real bone rattler by the end.

Going up the M1 Poma on Sunday afternoon.

Skier on the White Lady, still reasonable cover on top 2/3rds, but the bottom has narrow bits on the approach to the Poma. Hard crust that would have benefited from much greater use.

Blue sky and heavy drifting at the top of the Ptarmigan Tow.

Very quiet after early afternoon, perhaps the wind made something like this more appealing for some?

Woohooo, look at what we have here. Almost all the hard work done, please let the weather play ball to add the depth now to make the Ciste Gully last the season!

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Visibility was often better on Sunday than Saturday, but the overnight thaw/freeze provided a hard base to the pockets of loose windblown snow that rarely remained in the same place for long - meaning a bit of exploring was always required to hunt out the best of the snow.

Generally the hard stuff was grippy, rather than icy, notable exception being the top of the Traverse from the M1 poma get off ramp to the split with the M1 RaceTrack which was scouring down and getting very polished.

Where unpisted the roughness of the surface rather than icy surfaces were the problem, the White Lady was bone rattling and needed enough traffic to break down the crust - but that wasn't happening.

The M1 was providing a decent run early in the day, but was a bit of a survival course at the end of the day, while the Ptarmigan Bowl that was quite icy early on started catching the loose snow to have some of the best riding of the afternoon. Around the Top, and to some extent the open terrain in general it was very mixed, with stashes of loose powdery snow to be found - but they kept moving!

The direction of the wind and apparent drift direction suggested a lot of the loose snow was continuing to pile down the Ciste Gully, which is now complete. Filling the burn course is more than half the work with traditional natural runs like this, some years there's only the one storm cycle that brings the right conditions with the right wind direction to fill the gully, so fingers crossed we get weather cycles that will now build depth to the base without breaking any of it up. Very promising to see the gully filled in the first week of Dec, so fingers crossed!

Photos by Winterhighland. Send your photos to pix2009@winterhighland.info or post a public report .
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