Jonathan L. Gal
Location Name or Route
The snow on Superior's South Side was highly variable. A snow pit on the ridge line on the way up looked very solid, but things were more variable on the way down. It was stable with nice powder at the beginning of the downhill, but then I encountered considerable variability. At one point, I was on a strong, but thing, icy crust with 2-3 inches of warmer, wettish snow on top of it. I triggered 5-6 small wet sloughs on this snow. But, then as I traversed further to skier's left, it completely changed to soft avalanche debris (presumably from UDOT bombing) to huge, soft & cold winddrifts, then back to fairly stable powder which got heavier as I descended. There were also some scoured areas with lots of exposed rock. I did some rock skiing - which I am not very good at - and ended up doing a couple of somersaults on very bare section that was mostly rock and dirt. I was very thankful for my helmet, without which those rollovers might've caused a serious head trauma. All of this was complicated by white-out conditions and very poor visibility. South Superior is complicated micro terrain. Even if the big picture snowpack forecast, combined with heavy bombing of that slope, tells you that it is safe from large avalanches, micro-terrain issues can complicate your downhill ski, particularly in bad visibility and fast warming snow. Due to my somersault and micro terrain complexities, I did not take any photos.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating