Snow making on Beinn Eighe?

12th January 2017

It was a cold day with snow showers falling to sea level.

I came across a large pile of snow in Coire an Laoigh on Beinn Eighe. It was on a gentle slope beside a burn, which was frozen over but still running, and was about 5 metres long by 2 metres wide by 1 metre deep. It definitely didn’t fall from the sky and the only explanation I can think of is that the very strong winds yesterday and overnight blew water and spray out of the burn which then froze and landed as snow. This is basically the same process that snow making machines use in ski resorts. Picture below.

A slightly mysterious large pile of snow.

Beinn Eighe from the East this morning.

Too many layers in todays snowpack.

Graupel was the main content of the snowpack. This is a potential weak layer and can act like ball bearings to a layer sliding above.

Liathach during a brief sunny period.

Comments on this post

  • Nic Bullivant
    12th January 2017 4:28 pm

    Great report. What variety: mystery, beauty, technical.
    Passed to my colleagues in Cairngorm, see if we can get any wind-powered snow making set up here!

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