pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Friday 17th January 2014
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Upper Cas in good shape, boxes, rails, pipe jibs, berms and series of rollers in the Cas Park.

Best route onto the White Lady today, though Lady Luck was catching fresh through the day.

White Lady has great cover, but surface was a bit inconsistent with a few slicker patches though mostly grippy under a loose layer.

Aonach Bowl has full cover across towards OverYonder which is also in good shape. Softened up nicely in the Aonach Bowl.

The pick of the day by far was the Ciste Gully. Fresh snow at the top, softer lower down. East Wall seeing action too.

There goes the West Wall fall-line! However on skis the fence line has less uphill.

Looking up the Ptarmigan Bowl which was in and out of the higher mist.

Skiers on the West Wall Chair Run - excellent with soft granular snow lower half Fri. Approach narrow, can traverse in from Aonach Bowl.

The lower third of the M2 is filled to the brim and OverYonder is good too.

Entrance to the Aonach Bowl, softened up Friday but might be hard and rutted early Saturday.

Upper M2 in good shape, a few rocks poking out on the crest of the steeper middle pitch.

Looking up the West Wall Poma, lots of options in the Ciste now.

Commitment and speed required to make the turn and get up this, but you'll end up pushing. Boarders were cursing... Fence line better for skiers.

Heading into the Ciste Gully for the first time since July !

Coire Cas Gunbarrel is flat and providing good riding for intermediates, Zig Zags all now have decent cover.

Fiacaill Ridge Poma provides uplift from the base, home via Fiacaill Traverse and Ridge sideslope a goer if surfaces at this level soften again on Saturday.

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A combination of fresh snow improving things on the upper mountain and some softening of the base lower mid mountain down made for much better riding than many seemed to have been expecting on Friday.

Snow was crunching up on the lower mountain at dusk and AWS data suggests that the snow will continue to firm up this evening. Expect a firm to hardpacked start, so best on the recently groomed stuff and up top where there is a layer of fresh. However forecast temps are similar to Friday so lower half of the mountain should see things loosen up a bit again.

On Friday there was a right mix of surface conditions, so worth exploring the hill on Saturday and the best runs may well change during the day! For Friday though the Ciste Gully was the clear winner...

Soft fresh snow in the Ciste Bowl and upper Ciste Gully greatly freshening up a firm, but grippy base - giving way to softer granular snow further down the Gully which has a mostly wide and deep cover. The East Wall Gullies are both complete and pretty wide with people doing various lines in-between. Access to No 1 Gully is easy, but No 2 Gully needs carefully route selection in!

A track has been cut out of the West Wall for returning to the Poma, but this has several uphill bits including a steepish bit to start. Saw boarders cursing... Certainly for skiers the fenced traverse line was an easier option in the soft snow on Fri afternoon, but would be a different story if it's hard packed.

The M2 and OverYonder provide a good long blue for intermediates and the Aonach Bowl will be good fun once/if it softens up again on Saturday. Will be rough, hard and rutted early on.

Mid mountain on the Cas side all runs have good cover, the White Lady is in very good shape in terms of cover but the surface was very variable and good way behind the Ciste Gully in the fun stakes on Friday afternoon.

Riding to the Daylodge is possible, but the Carpark Runs are thin and narrow. Stay of uptrack if Carpark Tow is running (will only run if required for increased uplift capacity from base).
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CairnGorm Mountain


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