pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Sunday 22nd April 2012
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Choices at the top of the Gunbarrel, Zig Zags for the sane, Gunbarrel is interesting!

Ptarmigan Restaurant from top of the Ciste Tow.

Fresh Tracks from the Ptarmigan Ridge into the Ciste Bowl.

Wide cover across the Ciste Fairway and Ciste Bowl.

Outside the Top Station.

M1 Race Track in great shape till the timing hut, prob best to exit via Horizon Road.

Cas side is unmarked - ski with care, but some good snow. Traverse is in good shape.

The hoof to the M1 for first turns when the Funicular wasn't playing early Sunday morning.

Slight thaw this weekend mid-station level means some walking to M1 Poma, but well worth it on Sunday.

M1 Poma doing it's thing as another snow shower comes in. Snowing to below mid-station on Sunday.

Good unpisted soft snow on the Upper Cas.

Gunbarrel burn slalom, for confident skiers this is the route with the shortest walk to the M1 Poma. Cut onto uptrack about here.

Bank of snow on the Traverse. Tracks coming off Coronation Wall.

Looking up the Summit Path, note fresh tracks here.

Tracks on Coronation Wall from the 105/Horizon Road merge.

Top Zig Zag is complete, some walking required on the second. M1 beyond in good shape.

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CairnGorm Mountain received a couple of inches of fresh on up top for Sunday morning. Upper mountain is now pretty much ride anywhere with wide expanses of moderate off-piste from the Ptarmigan Tow on the Ptarmigan Ridge and uppermost reaches of the East Wall - heading back to the Ciste Tow, also around the Summit Path area.

For experts the Coronation Wall is offering steep off-piste, but if going out on to the steeper stuff and headwalls this week consider potential avalanche risks.

All Top Basin runs are in good shape, the Fairway is now basically fence to fence and provides a longer green for those advancing beyond the Ptarmigan Bowl. The Polar Express Trainer Tow is providing a gentle introduction to the tows for novices in the Ptarmigan Bowl.

As snow has accumulated up top over the past couple of days there has been a slight thaw at mid-station level - the snow level was just a couple of hundred feet too high, so some walking is required to regain the M1 Poma, but was well worth it on Sunday. Upper Cas is also continuing to fill in and improve and the Fiacaill Traverse is offering a good run too.

Surface conditions continue to evolve through the day, so worth exploring what's skiable to see what's what.

There are 3 boxes (1 wide flat, 1 wide flat-down, 1 dance floor), plus 1 rail and a small jump on the Upper Fairway, also natural rollers on the Fairway.

In terms of getting back to M1, the lower RaceTrack is very rocky on the diagonal line towards the queuing area. 105 is better, but very narrow in a couple of places and also rocks to grab your bases. The Gunbarrel is very narrow with the burn exposed lower down, but is just passable and gets you level with the M1 loading area. Zig Zags are more sane and best for your bases, top leg is good. 2nd leg requires a short bit of walking, skiers can then traverse along the bank of snow to the Gunbarrel.

No need to worry about routes up top, upper mountain is in fantastic shape, but the short walk to the M1 was worth it for good steeper terrain.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2012 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Glencoe

Nevis Range

The Lecht

Glenshee

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