Observation: Whitney Basin

Observation Date
01/24/2018
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Whitney Basin
Weather
Sky
Few
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Cool this morning with temps in the teens, high clouds throughout the day and winds were on the increase from the west.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Nice powder snow conditions with the coverage getting better, wind damaged snow on the high exposed ridge lines and generally great riding and turning. The weekend storm was good to the north slope with upwards of 18" and riders are enjoying much improved conditions.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Increasing west winds today were finding plenty of snow to blow around and form fresh wind slabs that were reactive to the weight of a person.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
The winds were in the moderate category along the ridge lines, but a few gusts were strong enough to boss me around while out for a walk. Plenty of cracking with these fresh wind slabs, many were still shallow, but with the steady winds today there is easily some deeper and less manageable slabs.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Winds and an approaching storm might be enough to wake up the persistent weak sugary snow that is buried two to three feet deep now. Could easily see some mid-slope wind slabs develop with the steady winds forecasted.
Comments
This small sled triggered slide on an east aspect likely occurred this weekend and may fit the trend where a person can still trigger a slide from low or mid-slope.
Shallow fresh wind slabs were forming today and these would easily crack around your sled in wind exposed areas. These were very manageable in safe low angle terrain, but would not want to expose myself on steeper slopes.
The winds were starting to spoil the powder party getting into some of the lower terrain and filling in recent tracks.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates