A mixed bag yesterday with snow in the morning with some huge gusts followed by blue skies in the afternoon in the East and clouds hugging the alps. The wind yesterday made for a cold day up there with some nice snow to be found.
Clear skies and cold temperatures today measuring -7 in Wadano. Today should see blue skies/overcast warming slightly through the day. Runs will be groomed with some powder possibly left under trees and on the sides of the runs. Todays base figures represent and grooming. Be careful in the hunt for powder about searching too far as we have seen loads of slab avalanches and witnessed a huge amount of instability.
Snow Pack Synopsis:
It has been 2 and a half weeks now since the creation of the January 12th Rain crust. Since then there has been a lot of things going on in the snow pack. The guides at Evergreen have been following the metamorphosis of crystals around the ice crust and the bond of grains above and have seen faceting taking place in side and around this crust witch has been breaking down the crust but also creating weak bonds to the crust. Compression tests have been producing moderate to hard results at the Rain Crust / Facet interface than can be anywhere from 2 ~ 3 m deep in the Alpine to 60 cm deep at tree line and possibly even shallower at scoured ridge crests. Since then we have seen multiple weak layers produced and have seen generally poor bonding between these layers causing instability in the snow pack. As a result of these multiple weak layers and general trend of crusts and facets (sugar between biscuits), the pack continues to be generally unstable.
Backcountry Travel Advisory:
Steep Alpine bowls and steep slopes at Tree Line are still very unpredictable and should be avoided if you are not willing to accept the large risk that is associated with these slopes at this time. For areas of better stability and less risk look to moderately angled slopes in simple terrain at or bellow tree line. Settlement and bonding below tree line have created a relatively stable pack across the board in the Hakuba valley but that does NOT include steep open terrain or gullies that may produce slab avalanches and will definitely produce slides in the new snow that has fallen over the last 2 days. The 30 + cm of new snow that has come down with no wind and is laying over a layer of surface hoar frost that was produced 3 nights ago pre the new snow falling. The surface hoar is sitting on sun crust on southern slopes and will produce slides that run far and fast with continued accumulation of new snow. Be aware of increases in wind speed and the associated loading of lee slopes as wind changes direction to North Westerlies and picks up as the High pressure system that is approaching hits some time early tomorrow morning.
Below tree-line: Considerable