pix from the slopes // cairngorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain // Sunday 16th December 2012
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Carpark Runs stayed firm, fast but fairly grippy all day. Decent if not that deep cover all the way.

The obligatory top of the Ptarmigan Tow shot with the sun illuminating the summit of Meall a' Bhuachaille.

Cloud sat on the Summit, while below was clear. Mist came and went in Top Basin.

Looking back up the Fiacaill Traverse, observe rhs of photo at the top of Fiacaill a' Choire Chais!

Ski biker about to head for the Fiacaill Traverse, rarely visited today but one of the best runs of the day.

The Gunbarrel filled in during last weeks storm, was riding much better in the afternoon.

Looking down the Upper Cas, nice enough riding, but Fiacaill was best run from here.

Loch Morlich in the distance taken from the top of the Zig Zags.

All legs of the Zig Zags are in great condition thanks to extensive snow making on the lower 3 and heavy drifting on Friday.

That's a 165cm+ high fence buried on the Traverse which was in fantastic shape.

M1 RaceTrack was fairly decent at the top, total ice rink below timing hut, exit via Horizon Road (or regret it).

Total cover across the Top Basin, means excellent novice areas in the Ptarmigan Bowl.

One of the legendary CairnGorm Mountain piste/uplift signs!

It was something of a different climate zone when you crested the ridge into the Top Basin though.

Fairway loaded fence to fence between the tows, fantastic machine groomed fresh windblown snow.

Daylodge Poma has decent cover, was hardpacked, but fairly grippy - not the ice fest the lower M1 was.

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A largely fine day on CairnGorm Mountain, though cloud sat on or close to the summit through the day, contrasting to the blue skies beyond over Glenmore. Occasionally the mist engulfed the Top Basin, but for much of the time the visibility and light was good (well until it got dark).

The snow on the upper mountain is still cold dry loose winter snow, drifting continuing to top up the Top Basin and upper portions of the mid-mountain runs. Fantastic conditions in the Top Basin for those first turns of the season, or first turns ever with great learning areas.

All the operable uplift has now run this season though not all at the same time yet, the Cas T-bar made it's 50th season debut on Saturday and the West Wall Poma also opened on Sunday, which along with the Daylodge Poma gave a quick and queueless route to the top all day.

Below about 2800ft the snow was hardpacked and quite icy in places early doors, it became grippier on the lower slopes, but never softened up here, despite the above freezing temperature. The Gunbarrel was however riding much nicer in the afternoon. Daylodge was also hard, but quite grippy.

The pick of the mid mountain steeper runs was skiers left of the fences on the White Lady, where the ropes had been moved back to take advantage of the best of the snow that had drifted in on the 'wrong' side of the fences in the Easterly gales late Friday night.

For those looking for less steep blue grade runs, the Fiacaill Traverse and fenced Fiacaill run were one of the picks. The Traverse, 105 and Zig Zags were a great cruise with regularly pisted fresh windblown snow. There's close to possibly over 2m of snow on the Traverse in places, with the snow piled up above the new fence in parts.

A couple of decent days in prospect early in the new week, a few snow showers on Monday, but another superb Tuesday is on the cards - get up if you can before another big storm hits Wednesday.
Pix from the Slopes for the 2013 Season
CairnGorm Mountain

Glencoe

Yad Moss

Glenshee

Nevis Range

The Lecht

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