Not only the skiing and the snow quality was great, but I spent the day with Pedro (my son), John T. college kids, and the always funny Mike L.
|Ski partner approaching Freeman Summit, with great views of the Boise Mountains to the East.|
|Ramp above 7000 feet leading to Freeman Summit.|
The snow above 7500 feet, even at protected north aspects showed signs of densification or the formation of a crust at NE and East aspects. We observed air temps up to 4-5 degrees C by mid-day. This is very likely the result of the "inversion" due to the mild and tranquil weather, thus somewhat cooler temps at mid-elevations is making skiing fun and forming very skiable NSF crystals, but warmer temps at higher elevations is making the skiing experience "instruktional" with its variety of crusts - Bummer!
Below the snotel temp data for Mores Creek Summit (6100 feet) for the last seven days documents very well the balmy temps (above 0 deg C) since January 2nd. Similar temperature trends can be observed at most snotel stations. In fact, reports froms a Boise friend that skied Copper Mountain last Tuesday confirmed that the warm weather negatively affected skiing there.
Below few pictures we snapped today of the last avalanche cycle at Freeman:
|Slab fractures - one of the several observed.|
|And more fractures, and missing slabs that avalanched.|
|Crown fracture (top left) with debris (center).|
|Crown of avalanche at 42.|
|Track and flanks of avi at 42.|
|Debris field and toe of the avalanche at 42.|
|Deep debris field due to a very dangerous "Terrain Trap". The trees at the Left side of picture are taller than a person.|
Stability test results at the crown of the Avalanche at 42's slope resulted in CTN scores. It was quite interesting to observe at the crown fracture, the presence of a distinctive layer of what was free water frozen (this is a deep north slope) and with an appearance of water flowing between the slab and weak layer.
Three meters away from the flanks of the avalanched slope at 42s, another nearby slope produced stability results with CTVQ2-50 cm down (DH) and CTMQ1- 50 cm down (DH) scores. This was very concerning, since a CTV represent a spontaneous block failure during its isolation. In other words, considering that 42s aspect has a North aspect, we need to continue to be suspicious of slopes steeper than 32 degrees at protected slopes and with North aspect component.