pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Wednesday 9th May 2012
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Beinn Mheadhoin in Sun as clouds cast a shadow on CairnGorm.

First tracks in the Ciste Mhearaidh after the lifts close.

Looking up the Ciste Mhearaidh, stream exposed in a few places, might not be after tomorrow!

Heading for home by the route less travelled, the M2 to the DLP then on foot by the Windy Ridge path.

The Ptarmigan, coffee break meant missed last lift on the Ptarmigan T-bar so skins on.

View up the Ptarmigan Traverse, upper mountain in fantastic shape.

Moody sky from outside the Ptarmigan looking past the M1 Poma.

Coronation Wall was a delight all afternoon, smooth silky snow - but don't go further out than the black markers due to avalanche risk.

Negotiating Chicken Gully which gets you closest to the M1 Poma, in the Gunbarrel level with the queuing area.

Deep drifts in the lee of snow fences by the Upper Cas from the South to SE drifting on Tuesday - why the headwall is risky.

M1 RaceTrack is full width to the timing hut, but very narrow below, best to exit via Horizon Road half way down.

Upper Cas had soft slightly slow snow with not much traffic on it.

Ptarmigan Tow opened in the afternoon with lovely fresh snow on the Ptarmigan Ridge.

Hitting the big kicker on the Ciste Fairway. Terrain park has a range of rails and boxes for all abilities.

Top of the Ciste Tow and the Polar Express. Full cover across the Ptarmigan Bowl.

 
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A covering of fresh snow overnight with light snow during the morning on CairnGorm, but the clouds parted to give good sunny spells a few further snow showers during the afternoon.

The Ptarmigan Tow opened for the afternoon giving fresh tracks on the Ptarmigan Ridge which had smooth silky new snow, it also provided easier access to Coronation Wall which was riding beautifully in the afternoon Sun. Don't venture skiers left of the black markers as there is a concern about avalanche risk after drifting earlier in the week.

Talking of drifting, there looks like there will be lots of that on Thursday as the low pressure system is now projected to be somewhat further North and is now expected to give hours of heavy snow and blizzard conditions for the Cairngorms. The snow level is expected to be below mid-station, possibly below the lower slopes for a time.

The Top Basin is in great shape, full cover across the Ptarmigan Bowl and the Ptarmigan Ridge and uppermost reaches of the East Wall giving extensive moderate off-piste of the top T-bars.

The Ptarmigan Terrain Park on the Ciste Fairway has a technical line with narrow rails and a more mellow line with boxes, including a wide dancefloor. There's 1 fairly large kicker and a new 10m wide rail. Along the Ptarmigan Traverse there was a mini rider cross course and the Nessie Rollers are back on the Fiacaill Traverse. But all these may need some work after Thursday's storm.

Mid mountain there is extensive cover till about 2800ft, below that the snow does thin out and narrow down quickly and some walking is required to regain the M1 Poma. Chicken Gully is the best route for getting closest from the Cas side of the Funicular.

Depending on whether wind and visibility allow play on Thursday, it could be one of those epic storming powder days - but check the latest in the morning. Friday afternoon or Saturday promise lighter winds and some bright sunshine to get out and play in.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2012 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Glencoe

Nevis Range

The Lecht

Glenshee

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