With a calm blue sky day forecast the only place to head was Glenshee yesterday. The road was reported as closed between Breamar and Glenshee due to drifting first thing but that must have been precautionary as the road was black all that way. After the storm on last week the snow blower and snow plough had cut through the snow all the way to the ski resort. Even the remains of an avalanche remained. The worst road conditions were between Ballater and Breamar on the way up but even that had disappeared in the strong sun light.
Approaching Glenshee the hills became increasing wind swept. The narrow valley must channel the wind big time as it reaches the summit. In lower deeside the hill cover appears more uniform. The place looks great, mountains of snow around the car park and cafe, a ticket was purchased and up sunny side chair I went. The Clunny slopes was hard packed, OK, bullet proof snow. Up Meal Odhar poma and down Corrrie Fionn, two width groomed snow, soft snow but the rest was bullet proof hard snow. The wind had scoured and polished the snow hard on all none west facing slopes, did a couple of runs there before Glas Maol opened. The black run was closed due to avalanche risk so it was a tuck position across the top, but a head wind meant a bit of shushing was in order all day but it was worth it all day. The snow on west facing side of the gully was soft, ranged from wind blown powder (very little) to Sastrugi (like sand dune markings in a dessert) and the best of it all wind packed powdery snow with the odd major lip of powder. That required the furthest traveling to but worth it all day.
Skid back for a late morning refreshment. Meall Odhar has a great Mogul run near the poma track and sunny side is in magic form, fast soft silky snow. While having a drink I watched a few skiers have a go on the Tiger and that is where I headed. Did two runs, god it was hard, hard and steep but a challenge to get to the bottom in one piece. There was some grip in the snow but if you happened on scrapped smooth part on a steep section then, even the sharpest of edges could not get grip. Up the chairlift again but to head across to Cairnwell, the top section smooth and icy, any soft snow near the fence, the rest of the piste was fast loose snow most of the way, especially near the fence. Lastly for the morning up Cairn Aosda, baking in the sun all morning. Nice silky fast snow and deep at that, making the top steep part a mogul field. A ski through the fully plastered gully to the back of the cafe to stop for lunch.
The afternoon I headed back to Glas Maol via the Meall Odhar T-bar, Ok now a poma, took me into the Corrie Fionn gully, great snow and lots of lips, jumps if you are into that. Skied until the legs, well the knees had had enough and spent the last half hour on Sunnyside Chair, if only every piste has a chair lift, it does bode for a good rest. All sunny side chair slopes were in great form, just the old worn icy patched. Blue sky to the last.
Photo from the day