Observation: Skyline

Observation Date
12/13/2016
Observer Name
Brett Kobernik

Region:

Location Name or Route
Jordan, Potters, Pleasant Creek
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Moderate to Strong wind along the higher ridgelines.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Snow surface conditions are like dense cream making for very nice riding and turning outside of the higher more exposed areas.  I am finding an average of 2 feet of total snow on the ground as I travel around.  There is up to 3 feet in the most favored ares.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Drifting snow was very obvious along the higher terrain today. Other signs of recent drifting included wind sculpted snow surface, large pillows and some cornice formation. That said, where I was able to prod at some fresh drifts in the high country, I was not able to get anything to crack. The recent drifts seem pretty stubborn although I didn't test them on extremely steep and exposed terrain.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

As mentioned above, the recent wind drifted snow is obvious and is the only real avalanche concern out there right now.  The drifts were the most sensitive on Monday when the wind drifted the most snow after our storm on Saturday.  There was one avalanche reported that released on Monday:

Date  Region  Place  Trigger  Depth  Width  Aspect  Elevation  Weakness   
12/12/2016 Skyline  Wedding Ring Ridge  Natural  18"  100  East  10000  New Snow/Old Snow Interface  Details

I did not spot any other avalanches during my travels today and I did cover quite a bit of ground.  Wedding Ring is one of the usual suspects.  It's a "repeat offender" sliding often during wind events and I don't see that this avalanche is really indicative of any widespread concern.  I did note a few cornices that recently broke off in different bowls but no avalanches released below them.

Comments

I continue to be pleased with what I am finding in the snowpack this season.  Currently, we don't have any significant weak layers that will cause problems as we add more snow on top of them.  This is subject to change but things look good as of now.  The snowpack is much more supportable now than at the same time last season.

Although the wind has been blowing along the higher terrain, I found surprisingly pleasing conditions.  So much so that I had to take an extra long lunch break and run a couple of laps.  

The avalanche danger is LOW in the majority of the terrain.  A MODERATE danger exists along the higher more east facing terrain where all the recent wind has been forming drifts.  Let these drifts settle for a few days and they will most likely stay in place.  After a little time, the slopes that have been receiving the wind loading should be quite stable.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates