You are NOT Logged in.
Chat about all aspects of snowsports, backcountry, climbing and mountaineering.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Current Page:3 of 18

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 12.48hrs on Tue 5 Dec 17
Umm I see the Techno Alpin snowfactory has arrived at Cairngorm.


Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.46hrs on Tue 5 Dec 17
jabuzzard Wrote:
Fazbadge Wrote:
If it's not a detachable quad to run right up the ciste then meh

So a fixed grip quad would also be meh then? I have said it many times before but the additional higher capital cost, higher maintenance costs and higher running costs of detachable chairlifts make them largely uneconomic in Scotland.

A funicular then


Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 16.26hrs on Sun 10 Dec 17
We did not plan to go onto the mountain today but the sun was splitting the sky and -9 in the village giving very soft fluffy snow conditions we started to question our decision. The mountain report was everything closed except the polar express for beginners so off we went with our touring kit to see what was skiable.

With the polar express running the closed system was suspended meaning we could take the train up and get out at the top. We talked to a few of the regulars who had been there before us and they say it was an easy ski from top to bottom if you knew what you were doing. Other than the polar express the runs are officially closed and roped off with no ski patrol, i.e. you are on your own if something goes wrong.

A base is forming on the upper runs down as far as mid station though the zigzags have very gritty areas, this is why the run is officially closed. The majority of the snow was well pisted and very nice to ski on. We were using the traverse onto the upper cas then the tow path then the zigzags.

There is a lot of snow making in progress. All 5 canons are running at their full capacity and the snow factory is also producing. The canons are making a lot of snow at mid station and onto the lower slopes / burnside. The last section of burnside is combat skiing, still enjoyable though.

There was enough skiing to keep us very happy, a beautiful day, very cold and not a breath of wind.

Extra pictures going up on face book later.


There is a concerted effort in snow making on the mountain. The area below the cas gantry into the lower slope area is accumulating a lot of man made snow. As is the bottom of the sunkids lift into burnside. A T40 and the snow factory are runningin the carpark area.

A base is forming now but only one machine width in places.

The traverse is well pisted down and wide.

This is why the run is closed. if they tried to charge people to ski this there would be an outcry on facebook. For todays limited number of skiers it was fine but not for your best skis.

The lower slopes are not too bad if you followed the fence lines. The snow canons are making a significant difference. though just at the daylodge bridge was tricky.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.38hrs Sun 10 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Top M1.JPG (332kB)   lower slopes.JPG (321kB)   Traverse.JPG (350kB)   zigzags.JPG (284kB)   snow making.jpg (155kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.56hrs on Mon 11 Dec 17
The forecast was for dry conditions with hill fog in the morning morning lifting by the afternoon. When we arrived it was snowing heavily and that was the way it stayed all day! I can live with that wrong sort of forecast this early in the season.

The heavy snow is transforming the place with significant accumulations. The brown areas on the zigzags have nearly gone with only a few gravely areas. The lower slopes are no longer combat areas but quite pleasant through the fresh snow. The area under the twin snow canons at the cas gantry is great fun to bounce through.

The train is now doing mid station stops with significant accumulations at the train stop and gunbarrel area. Officially the lower slopes were not open but by the end of the day the accumulated snow made the ski back easy and most were using it as the main run.

I chatted with the PB drivers asking how the ptarmigan area is getting on. Unfortunately the wind did not help deposit snow at the top of the tow path, it is going to take a bit more before it will open.

The Cas, white lady and fiacaill need significantly more snow before even we will ski the main runs though the Cas is getting there.

When we left at 15:30 it was still snowing, lets see what tomorrow brings.

Extra pictures going up on face book later


Each time we got to mid station the snow had got significantly thicker.

A combination of the snow canons and falling natural snow has given good accumulations at the beginning of the lower slopes.

Most of the brown areas on the zigzags have now gone though there are still a few thin places.

A very enjoyable ski back to the daylodge if you do not mind a bit of exposed heather.

End of play, still snowing heavily.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.06hrs Mon 11 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: carpark.JPG (229kB)   midstation.JPG (209kB)   zigzag 1.JPG (204kB)   daylodge.JPG (225kB)   lower slopes.JPG (228kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.42hrs on Tue 12 Dec 17
This morning started well with bright cold conditions. The accumulated snow had covered the bare patches on the zigzags very nicely and even tempted a number of folks to venture off piste but I was wary of this, the snow was a little heavy and the rocks were just under the surface.

There was a pisted run top to bottom using either the 105 or upper cas tow path. Unfortunately the lower runs, though had more snow, the pistie beasty had churned up the ground making it much more stony than yesterday. The machines have also flattened out much of the man made snow which had hardened over night, great for base building but not so much fun to ski on, corrugated iron.

The top bowls have improved and the ciste t-bar was having the bars fitted ready for the nod from patrol, not yet but close.

Just after lunch a cairngorm breeze started to build as a new weather front moved in. The clouds lowered and the breeze built even more till it was hard to ski the traverse. The lovely fresh snow from yesterday started to be whipped around reducing the visibility. The nice covered areas were being stripped back to gravel in places. The areas that had looked good for off piste were quickly returning back to boulder fields. Large drift were forming on the traverse and down the fence lines of the cas. We can't complain I suppose as this is what we need to fill the runs in.

I am not sure what the weather is going to do tomorrow, snow, rain, wind, and who knows what the cover will be like after the stripping winds so I will wait and see what is happening before going up the mountain.


Upper areas have caught the snow but the wind in the afternoon was blowing it around.

The cas is wide skiers left of the uptrack though the snow is quite heavy.

Below the traverse caught a lot of snow tempting people to venture off piste. By the afternoon this had mainly blown away.

The gunbarrel is full of man made snow.

The machines have been spreading out the man made snow on the lower runs. Not quite the fine powder we had yesterday. Hard and thin ready for more snow.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.53hrs Tue 12 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: cas off piste.JPG (175kB)   gunbarrel.JPG (173kB)   Ptarmigan traverse.JPG (176kB)   lower slopes.JPG (124kB)   cas side.JPG (164kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.32hrs on Wed 13 Dec 17
The wind did its job yesterday and today taking the snow off the ridges and depositing it in drifts between the fences and on the runs. The centre does not look as pretty as yesterday but the skiing has improved significantly.

The wind dropped off compared to yesterday though there was still significant drifting. The visibility was fair to good depending on the breaks in the clouds with the occasional glimpse of sun.

We are now top to bottom skiing officially. Burnside and the home road are now complete giving good skiing and the train is no longer required for mid station stops. There are many different routes through the lower runs.

The ciste t-bar opened with the run down the upper M2 and crossing over to the fairway. Nice soft snow with occasional drift ridge forming.

The cas is filling in nicely and by far the bast skiing was the boulder field between the up and down ropes. A significant amount of powder has deposited here. The main cas run is now skiable but still needs a bit more snow for general skiing.

The M1 tow path has caught a lot of snow and we noticed the poma bars have now been attached. It will be interesting to see if the tow path pistes down enough to open.

The main difference today is we could see where we were skiing and the drifted snow has filled in a number of off piste areas which we were making full use of.

Still best to remember this is very early season, a base is building but the snow can be thin in places though very enjoyable if you are good enough to predict your turns precisely.

Extra pictures on face book


Upper M2 now open to give access to the ciste T-bar. Nice cold snow drifting

Ciste T-bar, good drifts forming. New lifty Ash trained up for his first time operating a T-bar.

Ciste bowl catching the driffting snow.

Skiers left of the cas fence was excellent. deep powdery snow to get fresh tracks.

If you look at my previous posts you can compare how lower burnside has changed. Much improved now for most abilities.

Edited 3 times. Last edit at 18.04hrs Wed 13 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: cas.JPG (187kB)   Burnside.JPG (193kB)   Ciste Bowl.JPG (166kB)   Ciste T-Bar.JPG (208kB)   Upper M2.JPG (179kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.12hrs on Thu 14 Dec 17
The forecast was for hill fog today, arrived to cold temps and clear skys and it stayed like this up till 15:00. I love the forecasts in this country!

Snow had fallen over night covering more of the mountain. The M1 opened, both the poma and the piste. The M1 poma to me is a much better way of getting from mid to top station than the train.
The M1 is not one of my favourite runs but since they opened it I gave it a go a few times. The top is wide but firm under foot, the middle is narrow and the bottom is very thin with rocks and grass. After a couple of runs I had had enough as there was much better skiing on the hill.

The cas is filling in nicely. I now prefer to use the actual run instead of the tow path. Getting wider and soft snow.

The zigzags are suffering with the increasing traffic, especially at the corners, they are stony and gritty. I was using the cas cross over to the gunbarrel to get back on the the M1 poma.

The highlight of the day was the ciste and the ciste bowl. Using the M2 and crossing over to the fairway is the approved way down but the bowl has filled nicely allowing a bit of off piste and fresh tracks. This was my preferred route.

The boys have been working hard on the ptarmigan tow path much of the day pushing a lot of snow about trying to make it complete. Not sure how it was at the end of day, it was a mammoth task. The ptarmigan traverse is looking good and well pisted.

By 15:00 the weather was changing, cloud appearing with snow showers. The snow pack also changed significantly. Much of the soft powdery snow was firming up to a hard surface. I think tomorrow I will leave my touring kit at home and use my down hills, stiffer with better edges for hard pack. We need this hard pack though to build the base.

It is an easy ski back to the day lodge, either burnside or the home road.

Snow making is continuing to run full blast though the sun kids canon was off some of the time but I thing this was to give better visibility skiing back to the day lodge.

If you are planning to ski this week end of the first time, take into account the snow is still thin and changing rapidly and the runs that are open are still one machine width in many places.

I will put a few extra pictures on face book later, mainly of the people we were skiing with.


The ciste is a nice ski down using a wide M2 then on to the fairway.

The best ski of the day was the off piste in the ciste bowl.

M1 poma running giving better mid mountain up lift to the top. Note that the snow is still very thin here.

M1 now open, a bit firm underfoot and thin at the bottom.

It has arrived! A day late due to snowy roads in Englandshire!!

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 17.22hrs Thu 14 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Ciste Bowl.JPG (174kB)   M1 Poma.JPG (226kB)   M1.JPG (239kB)   Bottom Ciste.JPG (196kB)   New Winch Cat.JPG (239kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 16.43hrs on Fri 15 Dec 17
The bad weather that never materialised yesterday turned up to-day, it was a pea souper with fairly consistent heavy snow all day.

The upside of the bad weather is the firm to hard runs of yesterday now had a layer of fresh on top, much nicer the ski. The down side was you could not see the drifts at the edge of the runs or the drop offs which were catching everyone unaware.

The M1 was much softer than yesterday but it was suicidal in the zero vis. The drops and drifts were not fun at all and after my one run I kept well away. The M2 is wider now into the fairway, nice and soft snow but again difficult to see the hazards. No off piste today, vis just too bad.

The main cas run has continued to improve and is now barred up ready to run.
The zigzags have also improved, most of the gravel is now gone except one corner.

Best run of the day, believe it or not, burnside! You could see below the cas gantry into the lower slopes. The mixture of man made and natural snow has created a good wide cover and burnside its self is as wide as it gets with out the fences being buried.

The weekend is coming wither it will be busy tomorrow or not is anyone’s guess. The weekend before Christmas is often quiet but it may be the first slide of the season for many. If a lot of people turn up the thin cover will suffer, if it is quiet there could be some good skiing, weather dependant. Sunday is not looking so good, fingers crossed.

No pictures on face book today as the vis was so poor.


The ciste load area is now fully covered.

Gun barrel cross over is getting better, still a bit of a drop into the M1

lower zigzag is no longer brown

The best run of the day, burnside! a good covering of snow all the way down

I thought I would add this picture of the day lodge poma. There is a lot of snow around here but yesterday the run was completely bare, not even combat skiing, It will take a lot more snow to get back down the M2/daylodge run. What you can do is ski back to the car if you are parked on the left hand side of the car park, looking up, using the walkers path.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.53hrs Fri 15 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Ciste load area.JPG (164kB)   daylodge.JPG (201kB)   Burnside.JPG (163kB)   lower zigzag.JPG (165kB)   gunbarrel cross over.JPG (138kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 18.18hrs on Sun 17 Dec 17
A full scale cairngorm breeze with driving rain at all levels giving a horrible morning then after lunch the rain stopped and the sun even made an appearance with the wind dropping, a pleasant afternoon.

The snow pack has been impacted with brown patches forming on most runs, the worst being burnside and the home run which are officially closed though burnside is still a nice ski for the adventurous. The good news is by 14:00 the temperature was dropping the the snow was firming up at most levels bar just at the day lodge.

The surface lifts remained off due to the wind and looking at the M1 tow path is will be touch and go if this will come back on. There is not much snow around to patch with. I though the cas would come on soon as the main run had improved so much but after today we have been set back a bit.

The ptarmigan has been barred up now but I am not sure how much snow there is at the unload after the rain, there was not much to start with.

I skied the new snow factory snow near the day lodge for the first time since the machine spread it out. A large area approximately 0.5m deep has been created and was being used by the ski school for standing classes. The surface was surprisingly nice to ski on, it reminded me very much of spring snow, granular and quite fast. If it survives the freeze thaw cycles as well as the gun snow it looks as though the trial will be successful. I know what I would rather ski on , this or some plastic derivative.

If it stays cold tonight the runs will be hard tomorrow. If the weather plays ball I will have a better look around and see what the damage has been.

Extra pictures on facebook later.


The upper and middle slopes have not lost too much snow. The surface was freezing over mid afternoon making a lumpy ski. The main cas run was a bit rutted making the tow path the best option again.

The cross over from the top zigzag to the M1 has lost a bit of snow.

Zigzags not the best though still skiable.

The lower slopes, snow loss but not too dramatic, this was still our prefered route down.

The snow factory snow has been used to create a wide area, 0.5m deep, at the day lodge allowing standing classes to be taught. A very nice surface to ski on.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.30hrs Sun 17 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: snow factory.JPG (209kB)   lower slopes.JPG (247kB)   cas.JPG (176kB)   crossover to M1.JPG (221kB)   zigzags.JPG (184kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.33hrs on Mon 18 Dec 17
A surprisingly nice day on the mountain, I had expected fog but who believes the forecasts these days! The runs had firmed up after yesterdays deluge, not icy but firm grippy. There has been snow loss as expected though most of the runs have held up well. The exceptions being the lower M1, which was never all that good and burnside which is back to combat skiing. The zigzags are also suffering though there has been snow pushed into the corners. By lunch time a mild wind was blowing from the SW and the snow pack became quite soggy in places though by the end of the day this was drying out as the wind swung around to the NW.

The real casualty was the tow paths, The ptarmigan and M1 paths are struggling to hold on to the snow and it was an obstacle course to get up. There could be issues tomorrow. With the Ptarmigan running we now have access to the ptarmigan traverse which is wide and thick with snow giving a good run to the restaurant and into the M2 and bowls. Quite a number of ski lessons going on today.

The west wall poma has been barred up and the tow path pisted. They had hoped to get a run down the M2 and over yonder together but to-days mild temperatures have put a stop to that.

The best run of the day was the M1 down to the 105 cross over then down the lower 105 to the poma load area, a fast ski with out beginners in the way. The cas tow path is also nice but more people with mixed abilities.

Still top of ptarmigan to day lodge skiing, a good long run, if you have the ability to rock hop on burnside. A mild few days predicted, hope we don’t lose too much.


The ptarmigan traverse, nice and wide.

West Wall Poma track is ready but the problem is with over yonder.

Upper M1 wide and soft giving fast skiing down to the 105 cross over.

More patches are appearing though most can be got arround.
The cas area.

Lower slopes are still skiable. If you look at the large white patches, this is mainly man made snow from the canons, the corner ar the sunkids load area and below the cas gantry. With out the guns we would not be skiing top to bottom.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 17.50hrs Mon 18 Dec 17 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: M1.JPG (239kB)   lower slopes.JPG (220kB)   Traverse to cas.JPG (229kB)   WWP track.JPG (196kB)   Ptarmigan Traverse.JPG (175kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 19.59hrs on Sun 24 Dec 17
Photo bombing the Morlich cam by packraft today! Weather close to tropical - come on snow!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 20.01hrs Sun 24 Dec 17 by veletron.

Attachments: morlich (2).jpeg (113kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 17.39hrs on Mon 1 Jan 18
Happy New Year to everyone.

I was surprised this morning when CML said they had managed to create a path from top to middle using the traverse, 105, cas tow path, top zigzag into the gun barrel as yesterday there was nowhere enough snow. The fresh over night allowed them to push, scrape and squeeze enough snow to make a thin but very skiable run to mid station.
When we arrived there was patchy mist giving variable visibility and then the mizzile started. When leaving the top station you got wet, by the time you were halfway down the traverse it has frozen solid on your jacket and at mid it flaked off.

To start the snow was a lovely texture, very thin though skiable. By lunch is was a little damp, then by mid afternoon it was drying out and freezing as the mist dispersed and the sun even made an appearance. The traverse was ok, a bit narrower then the last few days we skied. The 105 was nice and usual width and on to the cas, either the tow path or the run its self.

When I say the runs were quite skiable I mean by myself who has skied them for over 40 years. When I looked around I saw carnage! Many first and second day beginners were trying to ski the route to mid. Heaps of bodies lay at strategic areas, the corner of the traverse where it turns right into the 105, the 105 corner where is crosses to the cas and the best one of all the significant drop from the cas cross over to the gun barrel. I was thoroughly enjoying the wee challenge of these technical areas but I could tell experiences today were going to end up as cairngorm legends to be repeated by many for years to come in bars far and wide.

The run to the day lodge is officially closed but as usual we were skiing it making a good run top to bottom. The man made snow below the cas gantry, the sunkids corner and at burnside has held up well. A little combat skiing to join up the patches but very enjoyable.

The Pistie Beasty was pushing snow around on the M1 to the middle 105 cross over, it looks like this will be open soon. The ptarmigan traverse was also being worked on but I did not get a chance to talk to any of the ground crew to see if any lifts were going to be operational. As I said the snow is very thin and not much to push around.

Loads of beginner areas at the top using the M2 area and at the day lodge on the snow factory snow but be careful of may tourists walking on the psites, oh look petal a skier coming to wards us, smack!


The cas is thin, officially you use the tow path but I was enjoying the run its self, soft and fluffy snow.

Top zigzag wide and nice to ski.

Cas to gun barrel cross over, lower zigzag closed. There is quite a significant drop fro the cross over into the gun barre, fun unless you were a beginner.

The only route back to mid was via the gun barrel as the lower zigzag was closed. A number of people walked this bit as was a bit of a challenge for them.

The lower slopes were closed but as you can see, if you were up to the challenge they were good fun giving full top to bottom skiing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.49hrs Mon 1 Jan 18 by WindyMiller.

Attachments: Top Zigzag.JPG (196kB)   gun barrel.JPG (199kB)   lower slopes.JPG (194kB)   gunbarrel cross over.JPG (192kB)   Cas.JPG (163kB)  

Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 11.06hrs on Tue 2 Jan 18
Good to see WindyMiller back on the case! I look forward to hopefully many more pics from the slopes in the coming months - thanks for posting.


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 23:28
2nd Dec 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 12.02hrs on Tue 2 Jan 18
Another day notched up that probably wouldn't have happened without the 2 snow guns at the base of the Cas T-bar that were blowing snow up into the Gunbarrel for a period before being turned around to aim down onto the top of the Carpark Run.

Without that the run would have fizzled out on the Zig Zags with a fair walk back to the mid-station if open.


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 23:28
2nd Dec 2021
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: CairnGorm Mountain Snow 2018
Date Posted: 16.45hrs on Tue 2 Jan 18
Snowsports closed after lunch as the strengthening southerly stripped some of the already thin sections on the route to mid-Station.

Current Page:3 of 18
Your Name: 
Your Email: