Cairngorm snow bound again

29th November 2010, by Chris Gill

No need for the snow cannon here ....

No need for the snow cannon here ....

Scottish skiers are enjoying big snowfalls once again, as the winter freeze continues across Britain.

We’ve been there last season, but not quite at the end of November: the snow is piling up at Scottish ski resorts, especially Cairngorm. And they are digging themselves out of the drifts again. Is it possible to have too much snow? Maybe, if they struggle to get the lifts open.

Skiing started at Cairngorm two weeks ago, and the snow conditions have continued to improve. Over 1000 skiers and boarders enjoyed a powder day on Saturday, with top to bottom riding and 76cm fresh snow. But the blizzards returned, forcing the ski area to close while they clear the access roads.

Temperatures have remained well below freezing and, as is the case across much of the Alps too, there is a severe windchill making it feel more like minus 22 degrees on the slopes. Easterly winds gusting to 60mph are hampering efforts to reopen the slopes, but the resort is confident of resuming snow sports on Tuesday.

After last season’s bumper winter, when snowfalls were regular and frequent with consistently low temperatures, the area is keeping fingers crossed for another profitable year. Scottish resorts had suffered in recent years through poor snowfall and competition with low cost flights to the Alps, but last winter saw profits rise again and a surge in visitor numbers from those holidaying at home.

Meanwhile at Nevis Range, the resort has not opened for the season yet; but with good snow cover they may open next weekend.  They are also busy rebuilding the Pinemarten coffee shop at the base station. The new, larger facility is not expected to be ready before next spring 2011 though. Winter visitors will however be able to buy hot drinks and snacks from a temporary set-up while the new restaurant is being developed.

Heavy snowfalls have meant snow sports have begun at The Lecht and Glenshee, although the blizzards forced both to close temporarily.



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