Summer Skiing In The Cairngorms

While parts of the UK have been hotter than Africa, winter sports have been thriving in Scotland.
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While parts of the UK have been hotter than Africa, winter sports have been thriving in Scotland.

CairnGorm-and-Loch-Morlich-3May12-700x525

With many ski resorts across North America and Europe having long since closed their lifts for the winter season, incredibly, winter sports in Scotland were still in full flow right up to the end of May!

This is incredible for several reasons…

Firstly, it’s nearly June! It’s actually not unusual for Scotland’s resorts to have a good end to the season, but by the end of May it’s normally heather rather than snow that dominates the landscape. After all, the peak of CairnGorm is only 1245m which is considerably lower than the base of most resorts in Europe and North America, and the snow has long since disappeared from the lower slopes there.

It could normally be argued that Scotland’s summer temperatures aren’t a patch on those on the continent and across the pond, but with the heat wave that we’re experiencing at the moment, temperatures have been higher than the likes of Mallorca, let alone the Alps!

By the end of May it’s normally heather rather than snow that dominates the landscape.

What’s even more remarkable is that the Scottish ski areas had had a particularly bad season until the end, and by early April the snow had all but disappeared from most of the slopes. However, thanks to a ‘spring’ which saw temperatures swing from the mid 20s to zero in a couple of days and stay that way for longer than was bearable for most of the country’s inhabitants, the slopes were replenished with more snow than they’d had all season.

The resulting conditions for May in Cairngorm were reminiscent of spring in Tahoe, California. Sadly, the exceptionally high temperatures have finally taken their toll on the slopes and Cairngorm finally closed for the season on Saturday (26th May!) but before the temperatures soared, pow was plentiful.

In just a matter of days, it’s become a very different scene on the slopes of Cairngorm and the snow has practically disappeared. Conditions are fantastic for hiking and mountain biking though and you won’t find too many Scots begrudging the warm weather. After all, it’s not often Scotland gets to bask in this kind of heat for a prolonged period!

For more stories about British snowboarding read Catherine’s blog here

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