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Winter starts now...

This Report for the Scottish Highlands was issued at
21.30hrs Saturday 19th January 2019.
The Warren Miller film tour is back on the road and while over the weekend and Monday it's the South Coast of England, the UK tour rounds off with a Winterhighland screening of FACE of WINTER at Macrobert, Stirling on Sunday 27th January at 7.30pm. Get your tickets now!

Explore http://warrenmiller.co.uk for dates and tickets.

Much colder temperatures are now in place across the Highlands and it looks and feels like winter is getting underway - though there is a big blip with a 20°c spread in forecast ensembles by the end of the week as very cold air from the NE runs up against ridging high pressure which could lead to a strong inversion with warm air aloft!

Over the past 60 hours though the thing of note with the cold temperature both on the peaks and in the glens is the biggest burst of snow making operations in terms of scale, amount of plant and geographic spread in the history of mechanised snowsports in Highland Scotland. Snow making is underway to varying degrees across all five Highland Snowsports areas, with 3 snow factories as well as a range of fan guns.

Glenshee has been making snow on Claybokie, the Dink Dink trainer tow run and around the Cairnwell Cafe from the top of the Baddoch Chair. The Lecht is making snow with both the snow factory and a number of fan guns on the nursery slopes and both the Robin and Wren Magic Carpets and both are up and running with excellent cover of machine made snow and will be running on Saturday.

However the biggest snow making operation and one of historical note is underway on CairnGorm with a large snow factory and 13 various modern automated TechnoAlpin fan guns across the lower slopes. This is in a different league to anything done so far in terms of snow making capacity and in terms of ambition since the ill fated (and arguably unlucky with timing) Mar Lodge ski area in the 1960s.

This should be a good news story, but the reason why we have finally got here is less so with the Funicular out of action for the whole season and now today the confirmation that the West Wall Poma and Ciste T-bar are also out of service until improvements have been signed off by the HSE.

This could be a big year though for the future of snow making in Scotland. This cold spell, the lack of wintry weather to date and the uplift situation on CairnGorm with no Funicular means all eyes will be on the modern plant and what it can do to keep the Carpark T-bar running this season.

Indeed to date the only ski lifts to have run for sliding this year are the Magic Carpets at the Lecht (way ahead of the others), the Carpark T-bar at CairnGorm and the Coire Pollach Tow at Glencoe, all on machine made snow from TechnoAlpin SnowFactories.

However not yet enough natural snow to change the picture from limited novice sliding at the Lecht and CairnGorm, though CairnGorm should see an expansion in the next few days if this rate of snow production can be kept up and heavier snow is forecast for the West on Monday and Tuesday. PLEASE NOTE - that you must reserve tickets in advance for CairnGorm due to the limited terrain, by email to info@cairngormmountain.co.uk .

Nevis is making snow on the Linnhe Trainer Tow, not yet enough for a slide but sledging will be available on the machine made snow on Saturday and maybe by Sunday or Monday there will be enough to get the Linnhe up and running irrespective of what comes out of the sky!

:: HIE retakes control of CairnGorm Mountain
Of course the big news in Scottish Snowsports this autumn has been what has been unfolding on CairnGorm. With CML going into administration and the Funicular remaining out of operation. The initial engineering assessment of the Funicular which was delayed several times has been received by HIE and is being reviewed by civil engineers from the Highland Council. HIE have pledged to release the findings after these discussions to understand the scale and scope of the problems with the Funicular.

Mid December HIE took control of operations from the administrators and CairnGorm Mountain?s operator is once again in public ownership.

Snow making kit on CairnGorm represents a 1 million pound investment by HIE in an attempt to mitigate the extent of the economic damage of the CairnGorm Funicular situation on the local communities.

:: Warren Miller Film Tour
If winter puts a smile on your face, it?s something you had in common with the late, great Warren Miller. This season don?t miss Warren Miller's Face of Winter , the 69th annual film from Warren Miller Entertainment. Visit some of Warren?s favorite locations, from Engleberg, Switzerland to Chamonix, British Columbia to Alaska, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, Washington and more.

Watch world-class skiers like Jessie Diggins and catch big mountain athletes like Anna Segal, Dash Longe, Forrest Jillson, Amie Engerbretson, Seth Wescott, Jim Ryan, Marcus Caston and others as they carve down the faces of remote mountain ranges and come together to pay tribute to the man who started it all and celebrate a life lived in high places.

Join us to continue the legacy this season and explore warrenmiller.co.uk for more.

:: Mountain Forecast Discussion
Sunday will gradually see the wind freshen bringing in more snow showers from the NW and the temperature will be lowering again through the day. On the whole not a bad day for world snow day and there will be various events on at Glencoe including sledging with under 16s getting a free chairlift ticket when accompanied by an adult on Sunday. FL lowering to 1000 to 1500ft with -4°c at Munro Level.

Indications are for heavier snow into the West Highlands during Monday, probably from around lunchtime accompanied by Gales or potentially Severe Gales on Monday leading to blizzard conditions. Freezing around 1000ft to 1500ft and Munro level temperature of -3 to -4°c. Snow more showery in nature the further East one moves across the Highlands, with the frontal snow getting into the East Highlands late afternoon or after dusk. Wind SW 40 gusting 60mph but 50 with gusts to 70 to 80mph on the Cairngorm Plateau.

Winds will moderate significantly on Tuesday. A mix of Sunny spells and snow showers in the East Highlands, but frequent convective snow showers continuing to merge together into longer spells of snow on Western Coastal mountains as temperatures drop further bringing the freezing level down to the surface. Minus 6 to -7°c at Munro Level, slightly lower in the West.

Wind veers to the NNW for Wednesday with speeds around 20 to 30mph generally on the Munros, less around the Nevis Range, but 5 to 10mph higher Northern Cairngorms. Mix of sunny spells and snow showers in the West Highlands, more frequent but light snow showers expected CairnGorm and the Lecht, possibly dry with just the outside chance of a flurry at Glenshee. Cold and sub-zero at most levels away from the Coast with -7°c expected at Munro Level.

Similar to Tuesday for Wednesday, but indications that a ridge of high pressure could introduce warmer air aloft leading to a sharp inversion. However there is a big spread in forecast scenarios by Friday and the balance of the output brings in even colder air at that point!

:: Club Fields
We will update on Club Field conditions as and when there is snow to report on. Lowther Hills Ski Club is building a clubhouse at present and there are regular work parties, club members that can help with any work parties please get in touch with the club!

Find out more:

www.yadmoss.co.uk 01228 561634
ski-allenheads.co.uk 0191 5974 174
www.skiweardale.com 01388 317767

:: Webcams and Weather Stations
Lowther Hill: Off grid Summit Camera and Leadhills Village Camera online.

CAIRNGORM: Aviemore Cams online. Loch Morlich Cam online.

GLENCOE: All cams online. Coire Pollach and Summit cams have had a service to deal with recent misting of the lens covers.

NEVIS: Front of mountain cams online. Currently no network connectivity at the top of Braveheart, network upgrades in the area are imminent.

CairnGorm Mtn // Sun 16th Dec
After the storm the Ciste Gully is loaded.
Glencoe // Sat 1st Dec
Opening the season at Glencoe with Snowfactory snow!
Nevis Range // Fri 2nd Nov
Early November tracks laid down from the Summit Runs. Front of mountain webcams now online.
Glencoe // Sat 23rd Jun
Kicker action on the Main Basin for the mid summer slide.
Glencoe // Thu 21st Jun
Andy laying out some solstice turns on the Spring Run. Mid Summer ski on Saturday, meet at the base cafe 9 to 9.30am.
Glencoe // Mon 7th May
Closing day at Glencoe to round off the 2018 Scottish Season. Weather / snow permitting, mid summer slide on Saturday 23rd June!
Glencoe // Sun 6th May
Come and get some of this! May Day Bank Holiday Monday is closing day for the 2018 season at Glencoe and last chance for lift served turns.
Glencoe // Sat 5th May
Saturday was the Macavalanche mass start MTB race. A sign the seasons are changing and there are just 2 days of lift served riding left for the 2018 Scottish Season. Forecast set fair, so get up Sunday and/or Monday!
Northern Cairngorms Outlook
Monday 21st January
FL: 1500ft.  Snow Showers
914m: -4°c SSW 50 gust 80mph
Tuesday 22nd January
FL: 1000ft.  Snow Showers
914m: -5°c WNW 25 gust 40mph
  00.31hrs Mon 21st Jan
West Highlands Outlook
Monday 21st January
FL: 1500ft.  Blizzard
914m: -3°c SW 40 gust 60mph
Tuesday 22nd January
FL: 1000ft.  Snow
914m: -5°c WNW 20 gust 30mph
  00.29hrs Mon 21st Jan