The sun was shining on a perfect spring morning as we gathered and made our introductions at the Coire Cas Car Park. Cairngorm and the Northern Corries were looking alarmingly stripped but spirits were as high as the snow line – “keep the faith“ became our motto of the day as our wee group of four headed out in search of the plateau snow fields.

After a quick discussion we had settled on Ben Macdui as our main goal for the day and trainers were donned for the hike out towards Lurcher’s. Progress was slowed by the multiple stops to de-layer in the sunshine. As hikers passed by in various states of attire – shorts, vest tops, leopard-print jumpsuits – it wasn’t long before one of the party was seriously regretting their choice of fleece leggings. Reaching the snow line at 900m, trainers and said fleece leggings were quickly dispatched and boots and skis were on as we headed up the ridge

Gaining height the views opened out over the Lairig Ghru with great cover still visible on Braeriach, Cairn Toul and beyond to the Great Moss. Our faith was rewarded as we turned the shoulder of Cairn Lochan and could see the sea of white stretching out towards Ben Macdui.

Some leisurely and sociable sliding brought us up to the summit for a well-earned lunch break. It was a busy spot and great to see so many people out enjoying the blue skies and sun, although surprisingly few skiers. We weren’t the only ones taking the opportunity for a lunch break –  we were joined by a bold little snow bunting hopping about on the hunt for any crumbs. While at the summit we ran into a friend of one of the party and Brian was swiftly inducted as an honorary lady for the rest of the day.

From the summit we headed north-east into the bowl of the Garbh Uisge Mor which was in fantastic condition with great cover and perfect spring snow for the first descent of the day. It was generally agreed to be far too much fun to resist a second lap, so the majority set off for a second run on a steeper line while one of the group, recovering from covid and blisters to boot, enjoyed a spot of well-earned sunbathing

Despite it looking bare out towards Cairngorm, Brian (who had approached from that direction) reported it was possible to weave a route through the snow patches and so we set off for our second summit of the day, traversing Feith Buidhe and Coire Domhain with great views back over the plateau and another superb descent into Coire Raibert which was still holding a fair amount of snow.

The skis were on the whole way save for a few short hops but our faith was sorely tested by the lack of apparent snow on Cairngorm. Brian and Elaine set off on skis while the rest of us got the trainers back on and skis on bags for the final hike up. Both groups made it to the summit at exactly the same time, impressed by the snow patch/grass/heather hopping abilities of the skiers – faith restored! From the summit we had a wonderful 500m of descent through the ski centre to finish, reaching the end of the snow at the bottom of the Gun Barrel before a final short walk back to the cars. A fantastic end to a great spring day out with ladies and honorary ladies alike!

Article: Cat Webster

Photos: all

Ski Team

Cat Webster
Becky Race
Elaine Gillies
Hannah Milne