Significant snowfall and heavy drifting in the West earlier this week mean West is Best for more experienced skiers and borders, with more uplift and range of terrain available. A sunny weekend with decent spring snow conditions - grab the opportunity as a significant and prolonged thaw looks likely next week.
Significant new snow fall and heavy drifting in the West earlier this week mean there's more snow on the upper mountain slopes of Meall a' Bhuiridh than at any time this season to date and Nevis Range has improved a decent amount also, with runs to the base of the Quad Chair and Top of the Gondola now open once again.
To be clear we are not talking go anywhere wall to wall deep powder, the snow came in high winds and there was only a limited base in place before hand. Thus exposed windward slopes are scoured, while natural snowfields, gullies, fences and lee aspects have caught considerable amounts of windblown snow.
Surface conditions have been softening by day, only slightly at higher levels where the snow is grooming up to dry mid-winter machine groomed snow, but conditions beocming more spring like on mid and lower elevations. Snow will be firm AM and gradually loosen to more granular spring like snow in the Sun as the day goes on. With dry air, light winds and overnight frost loss of snow should be slight though the weekend, however damper air and more wind next week mean a steady thaw is likely from Monday, with rain showers by mid-week. So the message is simple, get up this weekend if you can to either CairnGorm, Glencoe or Nevis Range.
Glencoe had the Plateau Poma, Coire Pollach Tow, Cliffhanger Chair and Main Basin T-bar up and running today and are scheduled for the weekend. Cover has significantly widened out in the Main Basin and most of the Spring Run, and the Wall is offering the best riding mid-mountain. Plateau and Old Mugs Alley are in reasonable shape for longer green terrain for early intermediates, but there are thin and narrow sections around most of the open terrain, the top interchange between Mugs Alley and the Poma / Coire Pollach Tow is really worn with with heavy use, go carefully through here.
Overall though, more lines are skiable than at any previous time this season with the East Ridge and Flypaper Bowl seeing tracks laid. Low Road and Rankins Return have decent width of cover further out on the Plateau, but you need to head out from the upper leg of Mugs Alley to access them.
Nevis Range has also seen significant snowfall,early in the week and rather a lot of it has gone into the Back Corries, never the less enough has stuck along the fencelines on the front of the mountain to return to loading the Goose T-bar from the base. The Fairway is complete to the base of the Quad Chair generally at least 2 machine widths wide and the Rabbit Run is skiable once again for return to the Top of the Gondola. It is possible for good skiers and expert boarders to access the mountain via the Alpha and Alpha Traverse, but the Quad Chair is advised way up.
The Back Corries have caught significant amounts of windblown snow and cover has improved markedly, though from a very low tide so still significant exposed rock bands and various hazards. Speak to patrol before venturing beyond the front of the mountain for the latest info. It is currently possible to ski out the Rob Roys Return to the Alpha Tow. Warren's was been groomed so if this runs fairly quick laps via Yellow Bellow and BackTrack which are the easiest entrances could be possible. Standing by for word on the Braveheart.
On CairnGorm sadly far less new snow fell, the open terrain has freshened up a bit, but there has been no increase in what is skiable. The main action is in the Top Basin on long greens and a single route to the mid-station via the Traverse and Coire Cas, which rather fizzles out in the lower Gunbarrel, though it was just possible to reach the mid-station queuing area with skis on. No uplift below the Top Basin except the Funicular from mid-mountain, though in theory the Cas Tow could run for the upper section which would be useful for the rebuilt Cas Shred, but it hasn't been turned on this season, so no indication that will change for this weekend. Why earn hundreds of pounds from extra lift ticket sales when you can save fifty on a single lifty!!
Unfortunately even less snow has reached Glenshee and there has been no new snow at the Lecht so both remain closed for snowsports.
With increasingly prolonged Sunshine and fresh snow on the ground, Sunburn will be a significant risk into the weekend, it could be warm on the Summits with the new snow cover greatly amplifying the effect.
This weekend we have high pressure centred over Scotland. Little or no wind, prolonged Sunshine developing above any inversion mist. However where local onshore winds occur there is a risk of some cloud bubbling up, so day to day detail may change. If the forecast is correct despite warm temperatures there should be little thawing on the mountains in light winds and dry air with low dew points, though some softening on directly sunlit aspects. Potentially as high as +7 to +8°c at Munro Level, with little or no wind through the weekend.
Snow will aided by firming up overnight in dry air, and in sheltered glens and corries and on some high plateau areas given negligible wind overnight air frosts are possible despite warm for the time of year daytime temperatures in the Central Highlands.
Damper air as the high moves away will bring round the clock thaw conditions at the start of next week, so grab this opportunity at the weekend. West Coast may hang on to slightly brighter clearer conditions on Monday, but beyond dampish, very mild, rain showers and strengthening snow eating winds. Not a happy outlook, so drop everything and get up now!
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
Optimised for speedy access to the essential information from Scotland's five snowsports areas on even the slowest mobile connections our new Android app is the easiest way to keep tabs with what's happening on the move and now includes Lowther Hills Ski Club.
We have added a new webcam in Leadhills in conjunction with the Hopetoun Arms Hotel and Lowther Hills Ski Club.
CAIRNGORM: SSC and Loch Morlich webcams are online.
AVIEMORE: Aviemore, Inverdruie and Loch Morlich cams online.
GLENCOE: All mountain and base cams online. SSC AWS is temperature only.
NEVIS: Temporarily no power at Braveheart, other webcams other than the Summit will be intermittent over coming days due to connectivity upgrades currently in progress.
Glencoe: 01855 851226 www.glencoemountain.co.uk
Nevis Range: 01397 705825 www.nevisrange.co.uk
Lecht: 01975 651440 www.lecht.co.uk
CairnGorm: 01479 861261 www.cairngormmountain.co.uk
Glenshee: 013397 41320 www.ski-glenshee.co.uk