pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Friday 11th December 2009
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Toys waiting to get set out in the Ptarmigan Terrain Park.

Baby piste basher heading up the top of the Traverse, much better surface on this bit than last weekend.

Ptarmigan Bowl has a nice layer of loose granular snow where pisted, prob the best surface on Friday afternoon.

Learning in the Ptarmigan Bowl. Tow was off today, but will run for the weekend.

Heading up the Ciste T-bar about 3pm, very clear as light begins to fade.

Skier on the Ciste Fairway, good width of cover with firm, but grippy snow. M2 looks inviting but is a run to nowhere as far as uplift goes.

Looking up the full width Ciste Fairway to the Ptarmigan Restaurant.

Excited... this looks promising, a complete Ciste Gully in the first half of December. It would not take much snow to get a big expansion in lift served terrain if it stuck in the right places.

Upper M1 out via Horizon Road has good cover, but the signs don't lie - don't bother if your on your blunt rock-hoppers. Sharp edges will make a huge difference.

Looking the other way down the wide and well pisted Traverse. Thanks to extensive piste basher traffic, the Traverse and 105 had a nice loose layer, good sport.

The upper Cas in contrast was bone rattling stuff, would improve with pisting/use. Piste crew will have a look at getting a load ramp together!

Piste Basher rebuilding the Zig Zags and M1 link.

Completely rebuilt access to the M1 loading area, no rocks to worry about thanks to moving tons of snow around.

The infamous Coire Cas Gunbarrel doing it's best luge track impression. Sharp edges or go by the Zig Zags!

Pisting the Ciste Fairway at dusk on Friday.

The last run, skier heads down the Traverse to Coire Cas at dusk on Friday.

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A second consecutive blue sky Friday on the 'Gorm for early December, but this week the big difference will be the weekend weather. A bluebird Saturday is forecast above any inversion layer mist in the Glens, and plenty of sunny spells also forecast for Sunday.

Don't let the temperature inversion fool you though, off the pisted terrain the snow pack is bullet proof, there is quite extensive scope for high level touring on the Plateau for so early in the season, but be prepared for hard packed conditions.

In a similar vain, some of the Gully climbs in the Northern Corries should be setting up beautifully for the weekend with near as perfect overhead as you could wish for.

Back on the slopes, all Top Basin runs are complete, as are most Cas side mid mountain runs. But the stuff that hasn't been pisted like the Lady will be very rough and hard. The M1 is a bit slick, really needs good edges and only for advanced riders.

With the Traverse & 105 benefiting greatly from basher traffic, the run to the middle via Traverse, 105 and upper Zig Zags could well be the pick on Sat, the reason it wasn't for Friday was the Zig Zags were closed to allow a couple of piste bashers loose to completely rebuild the second leg, M1 link and access to the M1 Poma - a fantastic job has been done on this. Should be a really good top to middle run with no wind of note Friday making it possible to lay down some big turns on the wide upper Traverse and still get to the 105 with no problem.

Looks like a fantastic weekend to be in the mountains, sod the Christmas shopping (or do it up the hill) and head up!
Pix from the Slopes for the 2010 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Glencoe

Hillend

Nevis Range

Glenshee

The Lecht

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