If the West Wall Chairlift was operable and the boardwalk replaced either with a path or new walkway then the Ciste Gully would currently be the best lift served offering in Scotland at present.
It was no accident the chairlifts were sited where they are and the boardwalk built, the natural snowfields in Coire na Ciste converge in the Ciste Gully at the bottom of No2 Gully on the East Wall, by locating the chairlift out of the Gully but below the crest of the ridge the West Wall Chairlift is neither exposed to risk of avalanche or burial, nor to the full force of the wind.
With an operating hydro scheme reducing water flow and thus undercutting by the Allt na Ciste the Ciste Gully would be skiable even more often, filling in easier and lasting longer, the deep sidewalls protecting the snowpack from warm winds and driving rain.
Such a micro-hydro run of river scheme is part of our proposals for reinvigorating CairnGorm Mountain by transforming Coire na Ciste from a dilapidated shambles to a sensitively redeveloped year round activity hub, that is no longer merely the place ‘overyonder’ but a major component of the mountain business. Both increasing winter capacity to get skiers and snowboarders on the mountain in good times, increasing range of terrain likely to be available in lean seasons and making a substantial contribution to making the mountain business economically sustainable year round.