Scottish ski slopes are preparing for what could be the biggest week of the year as snow continues to blanket them with fresh powder.
More than 10cm of snow fell in northern Scotland on Monday and 20cm more could fall later in the week as a cold snap brings snow, ice, wind and rain.
But as motorists despair at the potential disruption to roads, skiers and snowboarders look set to rejoice with the blanketing bucking February’s mild weather.
Alison Grove, of Snowsport Scotland, said there was “a lot of pent-up demand for snowsports” north of the border, “especially as so many people who would normally travel abroad to ski have chosen not to because of the cost-of-living crisis and poor snow in the Alps”.
“Looking at the forecast, this could be our biggest week of the year,” she said.
“A lot of people have been watching the forecast with bated breath – this is just what we’ve been waiting for.
“December’s cold snap caught us unprepared but everyone across the mountain ranges is preparing for an influx of visitors in the days ahead.”
Mountain ranges in the east, including Cairngorm Mountain, Glenshee Ski Centre and The Lecht, look set to benefit most from the change in the weather.
And, Scotland’s governing body for snowsports said, given the possibility of heavy snow in the west there could also be some limited skiing and snowboarding at Nevis Range and Glencoe.
Snow machines have kept beginner slopes open in most ranges this year, but a lack of snowfall last month saw Snowsport Scotland being forced to cancel events this season.
With the heavy downfalls expected there was renewed optimism that upcoming events, including the Scottish Slopestyle Championships on March 26, could get the go-ahead.
Simon Burnside, of The Lect Ski Centre, said he and his team were now working around the clock to prepare for an expected surge in visitors.
“We’ve been encouraged by what we’ve seen in the last 24 hours, and looking forward to the next 48 hours, we’re excited for the next blast of winter,” he said.
“Snowfall has filled in some runs, but more is required.
“The guys are excited – if it’s a good weekend and we get the good runs open we could be looking forward to the best weekend of the year.”