Observation: Elizabeth Pass

Observation Date
02/10/2018
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Elizabeth Pass-north side
Weather
Sky
Broken
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
A good refreeze last night and on and off snow squalls throughout the day with about 4-5" new snow in the Elizabeth Pass area. Stayed cold and breezy with moderate northwest winds and the day felt like winter.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
4"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
The riding conditions were quite nice today with around 4-5" of light density snow around 10,000'.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The winds and new snow were the bigger red flag today. Very shallow and manageable soft wind slabs were easily initiated off the higher exposed ridge lines along with sluffing of the new snow on steeper slopes. Similar snow structure to areas on the west side of the highway, although the faceted sugary snow in the mid-pack are a little more developed with larger snow grains here on the east side.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
In this area along the Elizabeth Ridge where steady winds move lots of snow around, fresh shallow soft wind slabs were the bigger issue. The new snow falling today was fairly light density and not sure if enough weight is added to wake-up the weak faceted sugary snow buried a couple feet deep.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Similar snow structure to areas west of hwy 150, although slightly more developed larger snow grains. No red flags with snow stability tests, an isolated column of snow would crack and propagate, but only after repeated hard thumps from the shoulder.
Comments
Normally this sign on Elizabeth Pass would be nearly covered by this time of year.
Today's new light density snow would easily sluff on steeper slopes. There were some natural sluffs off the higher ridge lines.
A layer of preserved surface hoar above the old rime crust is still easily found in a pit wall.
A little thin on top this season, but not too uncommon to see this area stripped clean on the windward side and deposited on the north facing slopes.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Low
Snow Profile Coordinates