IT WAS one of the busiest days for many years at the Scottish ski centres on Saturday with well over 13,000 people out skiing, sledging and boarding.

CairnGorm Mountain Ltd had 2400 skiers and boarders and another 400 sightseers.

Marketing manager Tania Alliod said, "It is the best day we have had for six or seven years. There were perfect skiing conditions for Scotland: blue skies and excellent cover."

Yesterday, when it had to close the Ptarmigan and Ciste areas, it still sold about 400 tickets.

Glenshee was again the busiest with 16 lifts open and about 3500 people out. Spokesman Stewart Davidson said, "We have had blue skies and absolutely glorious conditions."

He said police had to turn skiers and snowboarders away from the centre—located at Cairnwell, Braemar—on Saturday as the car parks were full. There were around 2000 people on the mountain yesterday.

The Lecht had virtually all runs open to cater for 2500 people, while around 1500 took to the slopes yesterday. Spokeswoman Pat Mathieson said, "We have been really busy. It has been pandemonium."

Nevis Range, near Ben Nevis and Fort William, also had a good day with 1800 skiers, boarders and sledgers out, plus about 400 yesterday.

Managing director Marian Austin said, "It's lovely and we have had most of the area open. It couldn't be better."

Glencoe had its busiest day for a long time with 1250 out, the car parks full and people parking on the main road to get to the skiing. Yesterday saw about 250 people on the slopes.

All five ski centres reported more skiers than they would normally see in early January on Saturday.

Last night the Met Office was forecasting further snowfall in the ski areas from this evening, with temperatures remaining low throughout the week.