Saturday, February 8, 2014

Summit Creek Glades report for Friday Feb 7th 2013

Pretty nice skiing with 25cms of new snow, over the last storm 10 cms of new snow, for a total 35 cms of soft stuff (POW) in top of last week rain crust. Even when the snow was low density the rain crust could not be felt.

It was hard not to attempt to go big, with a total of 7 runs from ridge to creek bottoms. Gullies are beginning to get filled, and it was exhilarating to hit them hard in the Summit Creek glades area.

GET OUT and enjoy the backcountry. Who knows when will it be the next time we will lots of soft pow again at MCS.

With respect to instabilities the snow was too soft to be able to perform the standard compressions tests or PST to check for surface instabilities in the top 40 cms. Tilt tests produced easy results at 10 and 35 cms. The 10 cms seem to be storm layer and was active with many little fractures from road cuts to steep slopes.

No evidence of releases for the 35 cm were observed. The 35 cms instability consisted of 25 cms of new snow in top of 10 cm of a faceted layer undermined by the rain crust from last week storm.

We skied mostly N and NE where the snow was not affected by the wind. There were signs of the impact of winds  at places exposed to East and South. Be mindful that we did not observe instabilities at protected slopes with N and NE aspects because we selected terrain that denied a slab structure to the weak layers present at the 35 cm interface. Also, with the new snow forecasted for today and the effects of sintering it is natural to have slab developing above the 35 cm weak layer. Keep an eye on that layer today.

Also, be careful of areas where the deeply buried (80-120 cms) facets could be activated. Deep persistent weak layer instabilities can be activated by new loads, such as the storm cycle we are going thru. I suggest discretion and high level on conservatism at sub-alpine areas ... for example Top of the World, when the last time I checked the avi starting zones are shallower than 1 meter due to wind.

Happy pow hunting Saturday and Sunday!