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West is Best and Saturday is the day!

This Report for the Scottish Highlands was issued at
18.30hrs Friday 20th April 2018.
Glencoe best option for mix of terrain across all grades. It is closing weekend at Nevis which is really only suitable for those comfortable with red terrain and above. CairnGorm is the most limited and will only have the Ptarmigan Bowl and Coire Cas on Saturday due to racing on the White Lady.

Don't forget to check the Public Reports and Forum for more photos and conditions information.

After the warmest UK April day for 69 years was making headline news yesterday, it didn't feel much like it in the horizontal rain showers in the West this afternoon! Fortunately a cracking forecast for Saturday, so it is definitely the day to aim for this weekend with a bright and Sunny day of classic Scottish spring snowsports.

Counter intuitive as it might seem the continued thaw means surface conditions have improved through the week as we are now down to much older more consolidated snow, the surface of which is loosening to give fast granular spring snow.

The snowpack has continued to recede with warm, humid and windy conditions and the best runs are those formed out of the classic spring snowfields. That means there is significantly more options for the more experienced rider. If you are looking for easier green terrain then Glencoe is the best option, as there there is no green terrain open at Nevis and only the patched up Ptarmigan Bowl available out of the Top Basin runs on CairnGorm. For slightly more confident early intermediates then the Traverse and Cas runs are OK, but use of the Gunbarrel is necessary at the bottom and the mid Cas is rather narrow now.

For more experienced skiers and boarders only the White Lady is now lift served and complete on CairnGorm, and it will be used for the Scottish FIS slalom most of Saturday. Only the Funicular and Ptarmigan T-bar scheduled for uplift.

At Glencoe all uplift bar the Beginner Rope Tow is scheduled for Saturday. Most of the runs formed from the natural snowfields and gullies in the main area remain complete with generally decent cover, but the thaw has finally taken its toll on the Plateau area. The Plateau Poma uptrack itself remains in good condition with a nice easy to ride level track, the run is also complete, but it is now mostly. Old Mugs Alley from the Coire Pollach Tow is the best option for green terrain and retains a fairly decent width of cover. Rankins Return itself is complete, but the Low Road is broken and patchy.

All the forks of Old Mugs Alley are complete and its still possible to ski to the Plateau Cafe and from the Cafe to the Coire Pollach Tow to access the rest of the mountain. The sledge park retains a full width cover between the fences with fast granular spring snow. Flypaper was open Friday and the Canyon has been an absolute blast (both black).

Nevis Range reopened on Thursday for riding on the upper mountain and this weekend will now be the last of the season given the extent of snow loss over the past few days, so if you want one final slide at Nevis then Saturday looks to be the day. Still fairly extensive cover on the upper Goose but the run into the tow loading area is just a bashed out track now, Warrens is mostly good but narrow bits appearing. Braveheart is planned to run, Warrens uptrack though has sadly succumbed to the ongoing thaw. Walking is required at points on the way out from Coire Dubh. Access is still possible via the Alpha Tow to the Goose.
Glenshee and the Lecht are both closed for the season.

:: Mountain Forecast Discussion
Saturday will be the best day of the weekend with widespread bright and Sunny overhead, with light Southerly winds. with the brightest conditions and light and variable winds to be found in the West. A day of classic Scottish Spring riding, with the Munro Level temperatures set to climb to between +5 to +7°c at Munro level. Winds will begin to freshen from the South during the late afternoon into the evening, that will herald less settled conditions for Sunday.

Unfortunately the forecast has deteriroated for Sunday with the weather moving in faster, so showers are likely from the off and some of these could be heavy and thundery with a risk they may merge into some longer spells of rain, heavier showers will turn wintry on the higher tops initially in the the West. Moderate South winds in the West Highlands around 20mph but will gust to 40mph plus in and around the showers, but stronger over the Cairngorms, with gusts to 50mph. Lowering +2°c at Munro level in the West, but 4 to 5°c Eastern Cairngorms.

During Monday the wind will veer back to the West and temperatures will trend down from the West with a mix of Sunny Spells and snow showers, these most frequent in the West Highlands. Around 1°c on the Western Munros but +2 or +3°c in the East. SW 25 to 30 gusting 40 to 50mph, but gusts 60mph plus on and downslope of the Cairngorm Plateau.

Monday sets the scene for midweek, cooler than the last 2 weeks with moderate, occasionally strong Westerly to WSW winds. Tuesday will be around 0°c at 900m in the West with bright sunny spells intermixed with beefy convective April snow showers on the mountains, but it may stay dry in the East on Tuesday. Wednesday will be another degree or so colder around -1°c in the West and 0 to +1°c in the East. More in the way of showers likely Wednesday with them making more Eastwards progress once again.

Detail of accumulating snow uncertain given showery nature of the setup, later in the week the chance of a more organised period of mountain snow associated with frontal systems and a low pressure system tracking through. However this is a long way out and model output is split between a deeper low Thursday or Friday or a continuation of the cool showery Westerly flow.

:: Club Fields
All the club fields require new snow falls to operate again this spring. Allenheads is closed for the season as the field is back in agricultural use from 1st April.

Find out more:

www.yadmoss.co.uk 01228 561634
ski-allenheads.co.uk 0191 5974 174
www.skiweardale.com 01388 317767

:: Webcams and Weather Stations
Lowther Hill: Off grid Summit Camera and Leadhills Village Camera online.

CAIRNGORM: Aviemore Cams online. Loch Morlich Cam ADSL working normally at present.

GLENCOE: Most cams online. Mid-mountain camera has developed a fault and could not be restarted on Friday. Will investigate further on Saturday when the weather is forecast to be much better!

NEVIS: Goose Cams online. Very weak mobile reception is causing issues with the more remote cams on the mountain.

Glencoe // Sat 21st Apr
Final run of a great day of spring riding on the Spring Run.
Glencoe // Fri 20th Apr
Old Mugs Alley still in good shape for easier green terrain from the Coire Pollach Tow. Full spectrum of terrain open from this to the Flypaper!
Glencoe // Mon 16th Apr
Canyon giving great fun spring turns with quick granular snow and modest bumps. Still lots of options for every ability, but stormy forecast for Tuesday.
Nevis Range // Sun 15th Apr
Looking up Rob Roy to the Nid Ridge & Wall. Nevis due to reopen for Snowsports on Thursday.
Glencoe // Sun 15th Apr
Looking up to the Canyon from the base of the Cliffhanger Chair and Mugs Alley.
Glencoe // Sat 14th Apr
Etive Glades was a popular choice all day, good spring snow and various different lines from the summit to the Wall T-bar.
Glenshee // Thu 12th Apr
The Meall Odhar Poma and run still has great cover, lots of fun lines and some of the best snow on Meall Odhar today.
Glencoe // Thu 12th Apr
Spring turns on Rannoch Glades in the Sun.
Northern Cairngorms Outlook
Sunday 22nd April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
914m: 4°c SW 30 gust 40mph
Monday 23rd April
FL: 4500ft.  Wintry Showers
914m: 3°c WSW 40 gust 60mph
  18.09hrs Sat 21st Apr
West Highlands Outlook
Sunday 22nd April
FL: 4000ft.  Wintry Showers
914m: 2°c SW 20 gust 35mph
Monday 23rd April
FL: 3500ft.  Snow Showers
914m: 1°c West 30-45mph
  18.06hrs Sat 21st Apr
Southern Cairngorms Outlook
Sunday 22nd April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
914m: 3°c SW 20 gust 30mph
Monday 23rd April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
914m: 3°c WSW 30 gust 50mph
  18.14hrs Sat 21st Apr
Lowther Hill Outlook
Sunday 22nd April
FL: >Tops.  Rain
725m: 4°c SW 3 gust 45mph
Monday 23rd April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
725m: 4°c West 20-30mph
  18.15hrs Sat 21st Apr