Heavy snowfall in the Highlands has heralded the true start of the Scottish skiing and snowboarding season.
Now that snow and winds have mostly abated, roads are clear and pistes groomed, all five mountain snowsport areas are operational.
Chairwoman of Ski-Scotland, Heather Negus, said: “The season actually started really early, back in November. But it has been rather stop-start since then.
“Four of the five ski areas have operated at various times, but the snow has proved to be fickle through December and January.
“This most recent snow dump is finally giving us the chance to offer skiing and snowboarding for all abilities on a wide variety of pistes – there are a total of 143 runs across all five mountain areas, served by 67 lifts.”
Those lifts include Scotland’s only funicular and gondola, chairlifts, surface tows and even travelators – “magic carpets” ideal for beginners.
Skiers and snowboarders frustrated by the weather so far are reminded to check conditions before leaving, and – when safe to do so – while en route.
Matt Roe, forecaster at the Met Office, based in Aberdeen, said: “It will stay cold over the weekend. We are not expecting a great thaw of lying snow bit it will be largely dry and not much in the way of fresh snow Saturday an Sunday.
“The north east will be cloudy and the north west looks like being quite sunny on Saturday, cloudy on Sunday.
“Next week it stays largely dry, not much in the way of fresh snow but it will stay cold. There will be little change at the beginning of next week.”
Ms Negus added: “Our official website www.ski-scotland.com/conditions is updated by the ski areas themselves throughout the day as and when conditions change. It is easily accessible by mobile and tablet as well as computer and gives the status of lifts, runs and access roads as well as snow conditions and overhead weather.
“Our webcams also give a true picture of what to expect, although of course these cannot show every run at every ski area. We also have a new fun video to encourage people to use our website to find out about conditions. We’re aiming to offer some great skiing and snowboarding into this weekend and beyond.”