Snowpack: Christmas snow

By on December 27, 2012

Snowfall continuously covers our surrounding mountains refreshing ski lines and keeping the skiing good. This white Christmas the slopes will be crowded as people travel from all over to visit our record early season coverage. Although the coverage and skiing are great in some areas, particularly low elevations, the snowpack is thin and rocks are lurking. In the backcountry at mid-and upper elevations the deep, soft powder is easily found.

Last week’s few days of clear skies formed a layer within the snowpack. Weaker, near surface facets, surface hoar, and sun crusts were all buried by light density snow. Wind loading formed a sensitive soft slab on leeward aspects, although the light snow makes it easy to ski out of the sluff. This season’s avalanches have mainly been surface slabs. The deep slab instability appears to be disappearing as it becomes deeper within the snowpack.

Santa gifted us all great skiing this Christmas. So treat yourself to tired legs and have fun out there.


About Lisa Van Sciver

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