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Confidence: Good - Trace precipitation and constant freezing levels
Past Weather: The last few days have seen a few cm's of new snow with light winds and freezing levels to 1400m. Night time recovery of the snowpack has been slow due to the higher freezing levels through the night also.
Main Concerns: (Avalanche problems)
Wind Slab - High elevation areas where the freezing levels stayed below zero have the potential to harbour lingering soft slabs. Mild temperatures will aid in the settlement of these but caution in areas lee to the wind should be taken. At tree line elevations there is a healthy melt freeze crust formed by rain when the pineapple express rolled over us on the weekend. New snow on this crust on direct north aspects is sloughing easily and was becoming moist today on solar aspects.
Triggering these slabs is possible in the alpine and unlikely at treeline on Northern aspects. Avalanche potential to sz 1-1.5
Thursday - Sunny periods, Light winds from the southern quadrants and freezing levels to 1100m. Possibly a trace of snow.
Friday - Sunny periods, light winds from the Southern quadrants. Freezing levels 1000m
Saturday - Sunny periods, Light winds from the Southern quadrants. Freezing levels to 1100m
Avalanche activity - Some snowballing at lower elevations today. No new avalanches observed.
The pineapple express that rolled over us last weekend soaked the snowpack well into the alpine. This moisture, now frozen, has now left a hard frozen surface and also taken out some of the lingering surface weaknesses that were present.
2-5cms of new snow overlies this crust at TL and possibly more at higher elevations. This snow sloughs easily on steep north aspects On solar aspects it was bonding well and becoming moist today. In the wake of lowering freezing levels the crust is now firm on the surface at treeline and becomes breakable as elevation increases. Below this crust moist snow still exists up to 40cms deep at treeline elevations. As freezing levels remain constant, colder temps will penetrate deeper into the snowpack, helping to solidify the upper snow pack.
Caution a slip and fall hazard may exist.
The hard surfaces at TL are making it hard to get a ski edge in. Be aware of fall hazard and where you may end up. With another couple of cm's of new snow sloughing in steep terrain should be considered. Although there is not enough mass to necessarily bury a person slough can take you places you may not want to go to! Dust off the ski crampons! Boot packing is firm and fast, ensure you are properly equipped when doing so on hard surfaces.
Caution is always advised at ridge top in respect to lee areas to the wind and where the snow pack is thinner than usual.
Prepared by: Cliff Umpleby
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