|Dave Bingman - Payette Avalanche Center Director and Lead Forecaster|
The next set of pictures summarizes the conditions: Wind Affected snow at slopes with due West, East, and South aspects!
|Raised skin track - wind removed unpacked snow of the ridge.|
|Snow surface sculpting|
|Raised pole plants - where did the snow go?|
|Sawtooth Peak - I think ... not sure!|
|Snow fracture under my skis.|
|Dave got his own crack.|
The snow quality was not espectacular due to the wind effect, but scattered pockets of soft snow can be found at mid-slopes with the protection of timber. Regardless of the skiing, the views were striking!
|Black Tip in the center @ Payette River Mountains.|
|Nature Window - sculpted from snow and rime.|
|Search probe fully buried at North Aspect slope - 7800 feet|
The top 1.5 meter - a much deeper snowpack for the North Aspect is illustrated in the next picture.
|North Aspect snowpack at Sargents|
Compression tests at the N aspect snow pit produced easy triggers with Q2 scores at the 25-30 cm depth. Compression results at other depths with weak layers were unremarkable. However, there was a layer at the 70 cm that did not inspired confidence, due to its rate of crust decomposition where facetting is active above and below the crust.
The recent wind events, early season variability in snowpack depth and structure, as well as crusts stratigraphy will demand that we carefully evaluate any steep slope we intend to ski!
Once more, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check the area avalanche center forecasts before heading out:
Payette Avalanche Center Advisory
Sawtooth Avalanche Center Advisory
And I would greatly encourage for readers of this blog to submit observations to each of the avalanche centers.
During the last weeks avalanches within resort boundaries have buried skiers and riders:
Crystal Mountain Burial - Witness Reports
Seattle Times - Woman Buried at Crystal Mountain
Schweitzer Avalanche - Two Buried
Two Killed by inbounds avalanche in Tignes-France
It is a good idea to wear your avalanche transcievers, and carry your backpack with avalanche rescue gear if you intend to ski inbounds steep terrain, particularly after a snow precipitation event. Also, remember to have a SKI BUDDY! You need somebody to recue you.