Coldest weather of the winter on the way...
Unfortunately we have spent the whole of April to date with no lift served snowsports. The lowest Munro temperatures of the season to start next week look likely - but it might be too little to late for any lift served turns after a further thaw of the remaining patchy base over the past 48 hours. Still some options for high level turns for those willing to hike and these should improve through the first half of next week.
We will see some of the coldest Munro level temperatures of the winter season early next week. Will that be accompanied by enough hill snow for us to avoid spending the whole of April 2017 as we spent the whole of March 2012, with no lift served snowsports on offer across Scotland? We will have to wait and see, but unfortunately the mild 48hours we've just had has not just reversed the snow from last weekend but noticeably reduced the remaining patchy base on the higher slopes of Glencoe and CairnGorm. At Glencoe the Main Basin is now visibly broken and there is very little snow in Ski Tow Gully, meaning the top uptracks are almost starting from scratch for half their length.
Though we have not had any lift served snowsports since late March, we've seen some cool spells with a bit of hills now and some fresh turns have been earned high on CairnGorm and at Glencoe, but it's been a bit of a tease with just not enough new snow to enable uplift to reopen.
Last weekend there was sufficient new snow to give some decent turns for those who hiked up Glencoe from the Top of the Access either at the weekend or the start of the week.
Though we can still see decent snow falls in the West in late April, with a limited existing base snow from the SW quadrant is really needed to drift snow into the key areas to much depth, so if anywhere can get open again then it is more likely to be CairnGorm or the Lecht. However never say never, Glencoe did manage to get a few days late April in 2012 in similar circumstances, but the odds favour the Northern Cairngorms over anywhere else this far into Spring.
As far as existing snow goes the Main Basin is broken, but most of it's length still has snow and it is mostly skiable, the Spring Run is the only other line worth looking at for the time being. Access Chair open daily wind permitting. The Red downhill bike track is open daily now for the season, the black track will open mid May after reconstruction of the lower section is complete. Summer Tubing is available on the dry slope at Glencoe daily till Sunday 23rd April then weekends and holidays through to late autumn.
Nevis Range is now officially closed for the season. The gondola is open daily wind permitting and skis / snowboards can be taken on the gondola. There are still some reasonable snowfields over the back, in Coire Dubh there are complete lines to the top of the Braveheart Chairlift, but it's a fair effort to get these lines in with a walk up from the top of the Gondola and a walk out from the top of the Braveheart.
Temperature is dropping this evening and snow showers are expected during Saturday, around 0 to -1°c expected at Munro Level. Milder for a period on Sunday with a wintry mix in the West and around +1 to +2°c at Munro Level, mostly dry for the Cairngorms with +3°c expected there. Strengthening wind on Sunday, gusting 50mph on exposed tops later.
Much colder air will sink SE wards on a strong to gale North Westerly on Monday. The freezing level will drop below the lower slopes and will drop below 1000ft in heavier convective precipitation. Convective snow showers will rattle in, these will be sharp and heavy, thunderstorms possible particularly in the North and West Highlands with the much colder air aloft aiding convection. Around -5 to -6°c at Munro Level, though may rise briefly in Sunny Spells between showers. Showers most frequent in the Northern Cairngorms and NW Highlands where they may merge into several hours of heavy snow. NW 30 gusting 50mph, increasing 40 gusting 70mph later.
Tuesday will see similar temperatures and Gale or perhaps Storm Force Northerlies. Heavy snow showers in the Northern Cairngorms will give blizzard conditions, further South in the Highlands will see fewer showers and some Sunny Spells. NW 50 gusting 80mph, but 60 gusting 90mph over and near the Cairngorm Plateau. The strength of the wind may well blast snow of the front of CairnGorm, but could drive substantial snow into fenced runs at the Lecht as the wind blasts through the Lecht Pass.
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
Optimised for speedy access to the essential information from Scotland's five snowsports areas on even the slowest mobile connections our new Android app is the easiest way to keep tabs with what's happening on the move and now includes Lowther Hills Ski Club.
We have added a new webcam in Leadhills in conjunction with the Hopetoun Arms Hotel and Lowther Hills Ski Club.
CAIRNGORM: SSC and Loch Morlich webcams are online. Loch Morlich AWS is back online for temperature.
AVIEMORE: Aviemore, Inverdruie and Loch Morlich cams online.
GLENCOE: All Cams are online.
NEVIS: Braveheart and base online. Front of mountain cameras currently not available.
Glencoe: 01855 851226 www.glencoemountain.co.uk
Nevis Range: 01397 705825 www.nevisrange.co.uk
Lecht: 01975 651440 www.lecht.co.uk
CairnGorm: 01479 861261 www.cairngormmountain.co.uk
Glenshee: 013397 41320 www.ski-glenshee.co.uk