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Location (general area)
Road conditions to area
Obscured (fog or base layer prevents view of sky)
Strong (26-38mph Whole trees in motion)
Wind direction in degrees
Aspect in degrees
Boot/ Ski penetration
Activity, recent avalanches
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks. collapsing
Obvious avalanche path
Mother nature has the last laugh (again.) Early AM tour fueled by the prospect of some soft boot-top turns from snowfall that started late afternoon on 1-15-23. From what I can tell, approximately 10-20cm of ~10:1 snow fell from Sunday afternoon into the early AM hours of Monday. Then around 2am a blast of warm wind raised temps above freezing well above 7k ft, soaking the new snowfall with rain. Unclear at this time where the rain/snow line was in the SG mountains, although I would venture to guess at least 8k, if not higher. Winds were absolutely howling over the ridgeline, so my partner and I stayed well below to avoid the 40-50mph blasts.
The snow that did fall was quite impressive, and all but the biggest bushes and rocks are now fully covered, even at a moderate altitude of ~7500'. Wind transported snow was evident in the form of small cornices and drifted in pillows--presumably occurring before the rain locked things into a wet, manky mess.
A quick pit dug at ~7300ft revealed 45cm of snow with pronounced melt/freeze layers punctuating our various storms this season. Rain has saturated the top 5cm of snow (which likely started as much more). Impromptu CT yielded a Q2 shear at 20cm, on what appears to be the same weak layer of graupel sitting atop an old rain crust. (I observed a failure on the same layer on this slope ~2 weeks earlier).
tl;dr - yes, we got snow, but the skiing still mostly sucks. Higher elevations may have soft, dry snow, although I suspect the primary concern will be wind slabs from the strong SW winds sitting on touchy melt/freeze layers from the warm AR events earlier in the season. Fingers crossed that things turn around for us in Feb-Mar.
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