A severe weather warning of snow for the north on Sunday has raised hopes of an early start to the winter sports season.
The Met Office today issued a yellow “be aware” alert for the Highlands and Argyll between 0.15am on Sunday morning and midday on Monday.
And it warned that it could cause disruption to travel.
But the news was welcomed by the north’s ski resorts, which are hoping it could mean skiing and snowboarding 11will be able to start sooner.
Ross Coulter, of CairnGorm Mountain, near Aviemore, said: “We’ve got a little bit of snow, maybe a couple of inches in places at the top.
“There’s not enough to ski yet, but the mountain looks very white, which gives everybody hope.
“We’ve been checking the forecasts and our best guess is that we could be able to open for skiing on Saturday December 13.”
The resort has also started using its snow canons to make more of the white stuff and give nature a helping hand.
Glencoe Mountain Resort managing director, Andy Meldrum, said: “Our target date is December 19.
“However, if the snow arrives before that we will open sooner.”
He added that the forecast was for up to 10 consecutive days of high winds and heavy snow on the western mountains from Sunday.
And Mark Jordan, of Nevis Range, near Fort William, said: “We’ve got snow below the top station now. It’s only a dusting at the moment, but it looks more like winter.
He welcomed the forecast of more snow and said they hoped that by the middle of next week they would be better able to gauge when skiing was likely to start.
A Met Office spokesman said showers in western Scotland on Sunday and into Monday morning would fall as snow, particularly above about 650ft, with a mixture of hail, sleet and snow at lower levels.
He said: “Accumulating snow may lead to travel disruption through the region.
“Icy stretches are likely to form on surfaces, as well as strong winds leading to reduced visibility and poor driving conditions.”
He added that accumulations of up to 2ins of snow were possible around 650ft, with 4ins or more possible above 650ft and temporary slushy conditions at lower levels.