|Early morning at MCS|
Between 6000 and 6800 feet there was 20-30 cms of new snow in top of a supportable rain crust. Above 6800 the rain crust became very fragile. This 2 cm thick porous, and decomposing crust layer is undermined by a thin layer of melt freeze recrystallized 'near surface facets'. This layer was very reactive at wind affected spots, producing CT1Q1 scores as well as positive propagation propensity results (ECT & PST). Ski cuts at a small steep test slopes resulted in propagating cracks. It should be noted that due to the soft slab conditions, stability testing was somewhat ricky to avoid "False Stable" results.
The near surface facets (NSF) buried at 30 cm needs to be tracked, particularly as more NEW snow, warm temps, and winds further develop a potentially dangerous slab at starting zones. Late in the day, winds gained strength and snow transport accelerated. I strongly suggest to look for this reactive layer during the next few days, and perhaps a week or two!
Considering the snowpack conditions we scrapped our plans to ski Top Of The World, and instead harvested the new 30 cms of snow at Summit Creek Glades, since these slopes were not impacted by the prevalent west winds, and there are few locations with terrain steeper than 35 degrees.
Check the next short video clips . Snow looks good and ... it was indeed very niiiiiiice!
After snapping few pics of wet releases at Lamar Ridge South aspects, I continued to ski down, where a small procedural ski cut at a 34 deg slope with North aspect surprised me by releasing a small but punchy wet slab. I was not particularly surprised by the release, but how energetic was this release for its tiny and wimpy size.
Below I include some pics of the lower slopes, close to the Summit Creek bottom. Notice the much improved snow coverage. Last two winters MCS did not have as good snow coverage as we currently have. Impressive how February has delivered! Skiers - get out, it was awkward how few were BC skiing today!
Last Friday I ski toured Fisher Creek Saddle with Dave Bingman, director of Payette Avalanche Center. We did a lot of nerdy snow research work, but still saved time for pow skiing. The sky opened only for a very brief moment and the next pictures are some of the few we were able to snap. Needless to say - the terrain is bitching nice!