Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Graupel Skiing

Today was a day of discovery. Lachlan and I skied at Pilot Peak on a snow surface of 15 cms of graupel.
Nice turns today at Pilot Peak - Mores Creek Summit. Skiing surface; 15 cm of graupel.
Posted by Santiago Rodriguez on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lachlan enjoying himself on our second run at Top of The World, Pilot Peak.

Most of the day we were covered by flying snow, intense precipitation of graupel, and moderate to strong winds. Temps were not that cold, around -4 degrees C, but the wind put a bite into it.

The graupel was resting on a layer of wet polycrystals, that never got to freeze. We were saved from getting our skins wet by the thick and dense layer of graupel.
Lachlan at Top of the World, rare moment of visibility.
Below 7000 feet, at small slopes we were able to initiate small wet slabs as skied out via Summit Creek. Above 7000 feet we found generally stable conditions at Pilot Peak. Due to the nature of the graupel layer we did not detected surface instability due to wind slabs nor storm slabs. Quite simply, the graupel surface layer refused to form a slab!

Hand compression tests produced negative results.
Occasionally clouds parted, and the views were terrific. But it was only for brief moments that we could see anything at all.
Views from the Knob.
About to ski into Top of The World.
It is going to be intriguing to return in a couple of days and see how the additional snow predicted for the next few days will bond to the  graupel layer. And if the cold front and clear skies might have an impact in freezing the wet polycrystals buried 15 cms under the graupel. Stay tuned.

Below another short clip of today's skiing;

Lachlan Taggart working his splitboard at Pilot's Knob ridge - March 22, 2016
Posted by Santiago Rodriguez on Tuesday, March 22, 2016