There will be at least some lift served snowsports on Friday and with a wild forecast for Saturday it's a case of catch any opportunity this season. All but Glenshee are currently expecting to offer some uplift for Friday - but check AM.
Storm Doris didn't exactly go to plan with the heavy snowfall further North, this means that the Highland Snowsports Areas have received considerably more snow than was expected 24hours ago and as a result most should be able to offer at least some limited lift served snowsports on Friday. With milder conditions and very high winds overnight and into Saturday morning, if you can get up Friday for a slide drop things and go!
It should be noted that the snow has fallen in little or no wind as the strong winds widely reported in the news occurred to the South of the storm centre which tracked across Southern Scotland, this means there is an all over cover of snow but it hasn't really helped fill in the natural snowfields and gullies and fenced runs on rougher terrain.
Radar returns indicate there has been around 11 to 14 inches at Glencoe on the mountain (around 8 had fallen by morning at base) and 15 to 18 inches at Nevis Range. Nevis had the Linnhe Trainer Tow and Alpha Button running on Thursday, but it was unconsolidated and unpisted largely baseless snow.
Less snow has fallen in the Cairngorms, with around 6-8 inches indicated on radar data for the Lecht and CairnGorm. However with something of a base surviving on the Ptarmigan Runs it is expected the Ptarmigan T-bar will be open on Friday at CairnGorm, possibly if overnight snow materialises the route to the middle will be doable also, but check AM.
The Western areas are forecast to see the most overnight snow but the mesoscale models range the falls for Nevis and Glencoe from anything from 4 inches to over a foot, so it is a case of wait and see what the morning brings in terms of just what uplift can be offered.
Glencoe expect to offer the Coire Pollach Tow, but the Plateau Poma requires more snow and the uptrack could do with some drifting. If the forecast snow arrives then there should be lift served turns to be had. Plenty of scope for sledging by the Plateau Cafe now with good cover on the sledging area.
Nevis may well be able to open additional lifts if the forecast snow arrives, allowing things to be linked together further up the mountain. The Goose Gully has a base for a decent part of it's length and there has been slight drifting along the fenceline on the lower Goose. Summit runs retained a partial base as well.
The Lecht expect to offer the beginner magic carpets on Friday, but main runs require more snow though there is a few inches expected overnight which might just be enough. The main runs will be reassessed in the morning.
At dusk Glenshee had not got enough snow to operate any uplift, this could change overnight, but the mesoscale models are currently least hopeful for Glenshee. However Storm Doris was wayward in it's short range track projection!
Hours of heavy rain in Leadhills instead of snow because the storm track was further North than forecast, but eventually it turned to snow and Lowther Hills Ski Club were going to try getting their Village Rope Tow running for members tonight, but the cover was thin and wet.
The snow was quite wet and sticky so should consolidate a bit tonight in the colder temperatures, so though limited terrain there should be some reasonable riding in light winds on Friday. This season any chance to play should be taken.
Overnight snow is likely to be heaviest in the Western Areas, though all five Highland areas should see additional falls. A mix of Sunny Spells and snow showers on Friday with light variable winds in the West, mostly dry with part cloudy skies for the Cairngorms. Wind will start to freshen from the West later in the afternoon and more persistent hill snow will spread in during the afternoon, after dusk wind speeds will ramp up steadily and at some point so will the temperature.
It's not uncertain how long and severe the exposure to the warm sector will be, but incessant rainfall is expected for at least part of the night and Saturday morning on Western mountains. Wind will back SW and ratchet up to mean speeds of 60 to possibly 80mph, with gusts from 90 to 100mph on lower projections and perhaps pushing 120mph on the more severe scenarios on the forecast models.
Storm Force winds will carry into Saturday morning, moderating towards the middle of the day in the West as the wind veers West (later in the afternoon in the East Highlands) the temperature will drop back abruptly with hill snow on the back edge of the main precipitation and showers following through. Likely to peak around +4°c at Munro Level overnight into the morning, back to 0°c around lunch time in the West on current projections.
Uplift looks unlikely on Saturday given the wind and we will have to see just what happens in terms of snow / rain balance and what is left after the warm sector has cleared. Unfortunately another warm sector is now progged to cross Highland Scotland on Sunday, though snow might still fall on the higher tops it is expected to be rain on lower and mid level slopes. Winds will pick up to Severe Gale force again overnight and persist through much of Sunday.
If there is anything skiable after the weekend then a more promising forecast in terms of wind and overhead to start the new week, but that's a long way away given the short term divergence in the forecasts at the moment.
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: Summit camera has been replaced. All cams now online.
NEVIS: New Summit and additional Goose camera online. The Braveheart camera is offline pending suitable conditions to fix a power issue, but some of the prep work for getting the webcam back online was possible last Friday.
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