More than 80 of the ski runs on Scotland’s five commercial ski areas in the Highlands are open today, believed to be the most for several seasons.
The Highlands have had even more of a weather-roller-coaster winter than usual with periods of very heavy snowfall but also strong gales in the repeating storm systems and earlier in the winter some record warm temperatures.
These made it difficult for the centres to build bases and expand the terrain available to ski, but thankfully in recent weeks and days the gales have eased, but temperatures have stayed pretty low and the snow has kept falling – a winning combination of factors at last.
“Great skiing conditions again today. Soft pisted runs with some icy patches. We hope to get more lifts running over the next couple of days,” a spokesperson for Glenshee, which has about a dozen lifts operating serving more than 20km of open trails and snow depths of up to 60cm, commented this morning.
Elsewhere Glencoe (pictured bottom this morning) is fully open with all 21 runs skiable, whilst Cairngorm (pictured top, 15 runs open), Nevis Range (pictued above, 10 runs open) and The Lecht (pictured below by Gordon Bain this morning, 12km of runs open) are all about 50% open so far with 30-40cm of snow lying on upper runs.
All five centres have also invested in special all-weather snowmaking machines which have enabled them to make snow for a small area for beginner lessons or ‘snow fun activities’ like sledging whatever the temperature and the state of natural snowfall.
The current forecast is for more snow showers and cold weather but also so periods of blue skies in between.