False dawn as snow melts from Scottish ski resorts

The Cairngorm ski centre near Aviemore. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Cairngorm ski centre near Aviemore. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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SCOTLAND’S top winter sports resort welcomed hundreds of skiers and boarders at the weekend but experienced a drastic change in weather come Monday

Only a few days ago staff at CairnGorm Mountain were warning people to wrap up with a windchill of minus 28C at the top.

Now many of its pistes are just brown turf.

This week, it has been comparatively balmy 4.6C at the top while at the lower slopes - which have broken pistes - 10C plus has been recorded.

Snowsports were cancelled, but bosses are pinning their hopes on more snow and a colder spell forecast over the next few days.

Spokesman Ross Coulter said there had been a major thaw as well as strong winds, which yesterday were gusting over 80mph at the top.

“We did have top to bottom skiing but that has gone now. A lot of the snow has melted away. But more snow is forecast with lower temperatures - so it’s looking better ahead,” he said.

“Though we had a later start this year we managed to get two full weeks in January which was great. We are now hoping for a more settled and colder period.”

Last year the season began at CairnGorm Mountain on December 13 - before being halted for a little while by strong winds.

In 2013, Cairn Gorm Mountain celebrated its earliest start in five years on November 9 - when it welcomed 800 skiers and snowboarders - before having to shut temporarily soon afterwards as the snow melted when temperatures warmed up.

READ MORE: All five of Scotland’s ski resorts now open

More than 18,000 skiers and boarders flocked to Scotland’s snowsports centres during their first week of opening this season, which began earlier this month.

Ski Scotland said it was delighted with how the new season is already shaping up.

The Scottish snowsports season generated more than £23m for the economy last season.

It was slightly down on the previous winter with 230,634 skier days recorded at the five mountain areas.

Over the last six seasons, Scotland’s snowsports areas of The Lecht, Glenshee, CairnGorm Mountain, Glencoe and Nevis Range have hosted more than 1.5m skier days which have produced over £155M for the economy.

In April last year, Glencoe Mountain was described as having the “best powder snow on the planet”.

The conditions, which are highly sought after by skiers and snowboarders, followed heavy snowfalls over several days.

Snowaction magazine rated the centre as having the best powder snow of any of the world’s ski resorts at that time.

The last day of skiing at Glencoe for the 2014-15 season was May 4.

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