the general situation
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We've passed the Autumnal Equinox and counting down to winter!

This Report for the Scottish Highlands was issued at
22.23hrs Saturday 23rd September 2017.
We are now into Astronomical as well as Meteorological Autumn and the count down to winter is well and truly underway. That mean's we are busy putting the final touches to this year's Warren Miller Ski Film Tour - we'll be bringing Line of Descent to over 30 screenings across the British Isles from November through January. Watch this space for updates - tickets are due to go on sale later next week! : )

Well after a very disappointing winter that sees 2017 compete with 1964 and 1998 for as grim as it gets, we?re all hoping for a lot more white this coming season.

Something that is of significant note weatherwise is the sheer lack of big Atlantic storms having hit Highland Scotland since basically the end of the previous year?s winter - here at Winterhighland HQ we can?t recall a single Met Office amber weather warning for Highland that was for High Winds in the past 18 months. Does make us wonder what might be getting stored up!

Another and not welcome weather fact is that after such a low snow winter, the last two remaining snow patches in the Scottish Mountains were only just clinging on at the end of the week at Aonach Beag and on Braeriach, where the Sphinx patch was thought to only have a few days remaining given prevailing weather conditions having been hasn?t melted since 2006. Occasionally early snow falls can hit the high corries this early, but though there has been a flurry seen on the top of Ben Nevis already there?s not been anything to prolong the survival of these last 2 snow patches.

What there was of the 2016/17 season begun at the Lecht in November and also finished at the Lecht, which managed to reopen for snowsports on the last Thursday of April after several days of heavy convective snow showers streaming in off the Moray Firth.

While over the last few summer?s there?s been some exciting news on lift developments at Glencoe and Glenshee, sadly the big news from this summer in Scottish Snowsports has been for all the wrong reasons with the Coire na Ciste and West Wall Chairlifts smashed up on CairnGorm Mountain during the last week of August.

There needs to be a significant change of direction on CairnGorm to reverse the appalling lack of mid-mountain uplift capacity on CairnGorm, two thirds of which has been lost since the Funicular construction begun. In the near future the only in order to improve the situation on CairnGorm to some extent it is critical to make maximum use of snowmaking and to expand the capacity to ensure the Carpark Run is skiable for as long as possible, in order that the Funicular can run non-stop.

Despite the poor season, there are still some positive lift developments in progress, but due to prolonged planning processes compared to the previous new lifts at Glencoe and Glenshee, main construction won?t begin until next summer. Glencoe has only recently secured all the necessary permissions associated with the Plateau Triple, and preliminary work is underway this autumn, but main construction will take place next summer. At update, Glenshee?s new Cairnwell Quad is still in planning limbo.

:: Summer Activities
Though we are into autumn, lift served mountain biking on the black downhill track continues daily at Glencoe through end October, there are also a new mountain terrain xc routes consisting of a blue loop, red loop and black loop on the Plateau and above at Glencoe. Summer Tubing is open daily.

At Nevis Range the downhill bike tracks are open weekends, then open daily during the local October School holidays before they close for the season. The forest XC trails are open year round.

The West Coast access lifts provide some short walks to spectacular view points, unlike the Funicular on CairnGorm there is no restriction on access from these lifts. There are two to choose from at Nevis Range around 20 and 40 minutes from the Top Station respectively and at Glencoe it's about a 30minute round trip to the top of Creag Dhubh which offers spectacular 360 degree views over Rannoch Moor, Meall a' Bhuiridh, into Glen Etive and and the entrance to Glencoe.

The Gondola at Nevis is open daily weather permitting to and including Sundayl 12th November, it is then closed due to maintenance through till the week before Christmas.

At CairnGorm it is possible to walk up and take the Funicular back down, but it is not possible to take the Funicular up to access the mountain outwith the snowsports season, unless you take part in the guided Walk at the Top.

:: Mountain Forecast Discussion
Our mountain weather summary forecasts will return on 1st December or sooner in the event of promising weather for mountain snow. In the meantime please check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks, a Met Office summary for the Northern, Southern Cairngorms and West Highlands can be found on our weather page.

:: NEW Winterhighland Android App
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.

:: Webcams and Weather Stations
Early summer we replaced the off-grid summit webcam at Lowther Hill located on the engine shed of the Lowther Hills Ski Club rope tow with a higher resolution camera. There is also a lower level camera situated on the Hopetoun Arms in Leadhills at around 1300ft.

CAIRNGORM: SSC and Loch Morlich webcams are online. Loch Morlich AWS is having intermittent data dropouts, this is under investigation.

AVIEMORE: Inverdruie and Loch Morlich cams online. As you maybe aware Mountain Spirit closed down late August, we expect to have a new Aviemore webcam up and running for the coming winter but can?t say more at this time.

GLENCOE: All Cams are online.

NEVIS: Currently no power to mountain cams due to work on the mountain. We are installing a new base level webcam shortly that will provide a couple of views. Mountain webcams at the Goose, Summit and Braveheart will be back in service before winter.

:: Scottish Snowsport Areas: Snowphones & Websites
Glencoe: 01855 851226
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
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CairnGorm Mtn // Wed 23rd Aug
The West Wall Chairlift this evening.
Glencoe // Mon 27th Mar
The Main Basin from the T-bar. One last day of fine weather on Tuesday before it becomes breezy and wet - get up and play while you can!
Glencoe // Sun 26th Mar
Looking back to the Spring Run, Spring Paper and Flypaper Bowl from Rankin's Return. Staying Sunny Monday and into Tuesday, play while you can!
CairnGorm Mtn // Sat 25th Mar
Cas Shred terrain park rebuilt for the weekend. Main action in Top Basin .
Nevis Range // Sat 25th Mar
Braveheart Chairlift opened on Saturday and is scheduled for Sunday. Don't forget the suncream!
Glencoe // Sat 25th Mar
In the Haggis Trap on the Main Basin. Another bluebird day forecast for Sunday!
Glencoe // Wed 22nd Mar
Main Basin in good shape after heavy drifting and significant new snow early in the week.
CairnGorm Mtn // Sat 18th Mar
Cover widening out in the Ptarmigan Bowl again - but milder overnight before turning colder on Sunday.
Lowther Hill Outlook
Saturday 29th April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
725m: 4°c South 20-30mph
Sunday 30th April
FL: >Tops.  Showers
725m: 7°c SE 30 gust 50mph
  14.32hrs Fri 28th Apr