Observation: Thomas Fork

Observation Date
Observer Name
Bill Nalli
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
Thomas Fork to Whipple Couloir
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Temps stayed cold ( mid teens) until about 13:00 until the sun began to peak through the clouds intermittently. Cloud cover continually filled back in however to save the cold snow for another day. Intermittent but brief snow showers continued most of the day adding another 2-3cm of new snow today. By the end of the day the mid march sun had its way with S-W aspects especially below about 9000'.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
Deep and Blower! Way more new snow than I expected. Thomas Fork and lower Big Cottonwood Canyon did very well with this NW flow. I measured HST of 50cm at 8000' in Thomas Fork and 80cm at 9400' in the Whipple. By far the deepest chute skiing I've ever done. Things were very stable with this right-side-up storm and little wind. Not much of a slab, just amazing skiing. Trail breaking required great effort even on the descent in the Waldo Chute into BCC where the slope angles get low. Super slog.
Another HS survey along todays route showed the exceptionally deep Wasatch snowpack. 230cm at 8000' in Thomas Fork, 280cm at 9400' Whipple, 250cm at 8000' Waldo. 
The storm snow behaved very well today with no signs of instability in the areas traveled until the sun poked out late afternoon and instantly provoked WL slides on anything steep. The low density snow was extra sensitive to the strong March sun. It takes about 30 seconds to turn the loose blower powder into loose wet slides and in steep terrain the debris was able to gain some mass and speed. Tomorrow there will be another round of WL slides as soon as the sun hits things. 
The new snow consisted of perfect stellars but also showed signs of riming during the storm. Really I think this just made for crispier skiing and the rime should prove to be inconsequential. Below is a pic of some rime in the trees.
Coverage is still very good at mid elevations. Below is a pic at about 8200' looking back toward the Whipple.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating

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