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Location (general area)
Crystal Lake Rec Area (Pinyon Ridge)
Road conditions to area
Dry roads on Hwy 39 up to 3,500'. Mix of packed powder and slick refrozen ice. Lots of cars/vans without chains sliding around. Watch the soft shoulders when passing.
clear (no clouds)
Moderate (17-25mph Small trees sway/ flags stretched)
Wind direction in degrees
Aspect in degrees
Boot/ Ski penetration
PF 50 cm / PS 15 cm
Activity, recent avalanches
Very liight, dry snow. Lots of wind scour and cross loading due to constant 8 mph winds with strong gusts up to 25 mph
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks. collapsing
Obvious avalanche path
1:00pm at the parking area. At 5,500' there was 12" to 14" of storm snow on the ground. Ski penetration was 6" with easy skinning from this point.
Air temp was 47F and all the trees still had snow on the branches. Some snowmelt from branches falling on the snow make some areas of the trail saturated or punchy. No signs of avalanche or sluffing in the area.
Above 6000', snowpack held well during uphill. No cracks or slides during jump compression or ski cutting. Dug a snow pit on a 32 degree slope, NW facing aspect. Area had been cross loading all day with consistent 8 mph NE winds. Very easy digging, no crusts or ice encountered.
Started with an extended column test which failed the first time as I was sawing out the back. Second test I was more delicate with the isolation but still failed after 4 taps from the wrist. Both shears were very energetic and propagated across the entire column. Shear interface was excellent quality. No facets observed. Firm wind slab resting on top of weaker unconsolidated storm layer. Once the wind slab was removed, the rest of the column tipped over at ground.
On the downhill, had some very nice turns. Snowpack was very shallow and soft. Took some caution to keep the turns easy so as not to hit ground. With the next few days of warming/cooling cycles, this first layer should set up a nice stable base for future storms. Be safe.
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