First things first... Happy New Year to everyone and here's hoping that you all have a good and prosperous 2010!
Now is normally early season in Scotland. It's around this time of year that the base is getting put down and we're all wondering if the traditionally more snowy months of late January, February and March will bring much snow and enough to make for a good season... well... December has been off the scale and this is looking like the best skiing/boarding season in at least the last 20 years! The snow is all coming from Siberia and the arctic so is nice and light and dry. Usually, we get the weather systems coming into Scotland from the west, which means wet and mild north atlantic air slamming into whatever cold weather we have. Sometimes it turns into snow, sometimes it doesn't. Well this season, we've had a big massive system dragging air and weather systems in from the east and north and the snow has so far been spectacular.
I've only managed to ski Cairngorm so far, but i'll be checking out glenshee this coming weekend and hopefully Glencoe and Nevis Range in the coming weeks. The good thing is that this weather is likely to continue to hang around so there'll be plenty opportunity to go explore over the west of the country... right now though, the most fun is in the north and east.
Skiing Cairngorm Mountain this season has really ranked amongst the best skiing i've had in europe. Yeah, sure, the lift/tow systems are old and decrepit, the areas are not huge by european or american standards, but there is something special about skiing Scotland with quiet slopes, no wind, perfect wind and visibility that goes on forever! It's like skiing a true wilderness.
A few pics below from a couple of recent trips between christmas and now.
A sign of things to come.... the access road in pre dawn light.
Me dropping down on the Ciste Bowl
Bro' starting the descent from the Ptarmigan Bowl
Taking a rest and admiring the view east from half way up the hike to the Cairn Gorm summit
Boarder making fresh turns on Coronation Wall
Skier cruising past the old lift
View from the summit looking south. The structure is a weather station run by Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. The lone person is a guy who was out for a hike alone in the mountains. This was his first summit of the day as the sun was rising - although it doesn't rise much further at this time of year!
and sorry for the large size... a vew west from half way down the Coronation Wall off the summit of Cairn Gorm. The tracks are from a ski guide i hiked up with and skied down with.
I hope you enjoy the pics and i'll try and get more up through the season of different places from Scotland.
Happy skiing. :o)