Conditions rarely get better on Scotland's ski slopes and are being used for great release of pent up demand following two nearly snowless months from late February to mid-March.

Over on the west coast, in an absolute first for Nevis Range, this weekend sees both snowsports and downhill mountain biking taking place on the mountain at the same time, with some enthusiasts enjoying both sports on the same day.
"With fresh snow and lovely, sunny weather, the ski lifts have been open for the first time this month. Conversely the dry, snowless weather experienced in March and early April, allowed much of the maintenance work to be carried out on the two downhill mountain bike tracks much earlier than usual. This is the third weekend that the tracks have been open but the first one when there has been skiing as well," said a spokesperson for Nevis Range.

When much of the south of the country is experiencing wet, miserable weather, the Lochaber region where Nevis Range is based is basking in Alpine conditions with frost at night and sunshine in the day. This makes for lovely spring skiing and tremendous (if chilly) mountain biking.

"It has not been without challenges as normally we are set up for either snowsports or mountain biking: we have gondola racks for one sport or the other, staff who work on snowsports in winter and mountain biking in summer, and the equipment hire changes from one to the other. This weekend we are manning ski lifts, inspecting the bike track, providing ski patrol cover as well as first aid for mountain bikers," said managing Director, Marian Austin.

"The thing that we could not do was convert the Alpine bikes shop back into a fully blown ski and snowboard hire - something had to give. Access to one of the bike routes usually goes through the loading area for the chairlift but we had to divert it today. Nevis Range has certainly felt like the centre of the Outdoor Capital of the UK today with people enjoying themselves in different ways all over the mountain. Tomorrow they will also be swinging through the trees on the High Wire Adventure. It makes it really interesting for the sight seers on the cable car to see so much going on."

More blue skies, minimal winds and sunshine are in the forecast. At Cairngorm the grooming machines have pisted out the M1 which is full width, White Lady and upper slopes which should set up nicely for tomorrow. While the Traverse-105-ZigZag route is also great condition with the upper Cas unpisted.

"Get here if you can," is the advice from Cairngorm. "It's been a fantastic day up here today with blue skies and sunshine. It's was busy today and we expect much the same tomorrow. Try and get here as early as possible as our car parks fill up very quickly."