Observation: Snowbasin Backcountry

Observation Date
12/3/2017
Observer Name
Doug Wewer

Region:

Location Name or Route
Snowbasin Backcountry
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
South
Wind Speed
Strong
Weather Comments
In localized exposed areas, unusually strong S and SW prefrontal winds were blowing small chunks of snow and ice into the air in places, occasionally hitting me. The winds were strong enough to blow my backpack over. I nearly lost a ski off the ridgeline due to a wind gust. In protected areas, the winds were minimal and not very noticeable. Temps were warm, in the 40's I believe.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments

Above 8500' on shady slopes, the snow surface was a mix of breakable and supportable rain and wind crusts.  Skiing consisted of about 50% side stepping and snowplowing, and 50% of delicate turning.  There's still a lot of rocks and ground features showing.  Snow is nearly non-existent on sunny slopes all the way to the ridgelines in the Ogden Mountains.  Some very thin snow lingers in the shadows as low as 7500' or so.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
9000
Slope Angle
32
Comments

The one snow pit I had time to dig lacked energy and shears were all Q2 and Q3.  The snowpack is not as weak as I expected it to be, but there is loose and uncohesive snow sandwiched between the two ice crusts.  The one red flag for me is the lower,  continuous 1-2" thick ice crust with the dust in it.  There may be enough vegetation sticking through it to provide friction for the snow above, but it is a layer that could easily propagate a fracture a long distance.

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