pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Thursday 20th October 2011
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Helen sets off from high on the Ciste Fairway.

Looking over to the Ciste Mhearaidh from the Marquis Well.

Iced up Summit Weather Station Hut.

Drifts on the Traverse, not a straight line tuck morning!

Looking back down the Traverse to the head of Coire Cas.

New M1 RaceTrack fencing.

Walk @ the top party heading back for a hot chocolate in the Ptarmigan.

Sun makes an appearance as we head up the Zig Zags, skis on at the top of these.

Walkers heading up the 105. Could have skied to the top of the Zig Zags.

Setting off up Burnside, snow capped CairnGorm beyond.

Heading for a bowl of soup in the Ptarmigan.

Setting off on the Ciste Fairway, complete to the bottom.

Contemplating the options, decided to head for the M2 with the weather closing in.

Helen sets off at the top of the M2, snow now softer here.

Onto the final pitch of the M2 below the old Aonach Poma top terminal.

A short bit of classic combat skiing for the last few yards to the top of the Daylodge Poma.

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Further snow and drifting over recent days and a promising forecast for Thursday morning meant it was time to get the skins out and hit the 'Gorm for an autumn tour, well tour of the Snowsports Area mostly.

Unlike the hoof to bag the October turns in the 1st week of the month, underfoot conditions were crisper, the air still cold by the top of the Zig Zags. It was possible to get skis on at the top of the Zig Zags and skin up the tow track, 105, Traverse (round front side of the Ptarmigan) and on up the Marquis Well without taking skis off.

A firm base with loose dry snow on top gave some pretty sweet early autumn turns in the Marquis Well snow fields, then on down the Ptarmigan Traverse for a spot of lunch. On entering the Ptarmigan the WWP was encased in ice, the snow dry and cold. In the time it took to have a bowl of soup, the approaching warm front made it's presence felt. The wind was getting up too which combined with the rise in temperature to strip the WWP of it's white coat. The snow was starting to soften on exiting the Ptarmigan.

The Ciste Fairway was complete with fairly considerable drifts, certainly the Tow has run with a good bit less snow! If the weather had given us 3 or 4 days of cool settled conditions into the weekend, we would have had the first lift served action! Alas, it's mild, it's wild and it's wet for the next few days, reminding us it's still very much mid Autumn.

From the Fairway it was possible, with a degree of combat skiing towards the end on increasingly slow and sticky snow to ride the full length of the M2 to the top of the DLP.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2012 Season
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