Observation Date: 12/11/2016
Three pits were dug at approximately 9:30 am at about 6100′:
Pit #1: East facing. Thin section of snowpack, the snow pit was about 40 cm deep to the ground. CT3 Q3 10cm storm slab. CT11 Q2 25cm (on what was likely surface hoar from the cold snap a couple days before, but it was difficult to confirm the structure of that widespread weak layer without any magnification). CT19 broke with the ground at the bed surface (~Q3) on basal facets that seem to be sintering rapidly. They were looking more round than I expected. No propagation on the ECT.
Pit #2: South-east facing. Similar results to pit #1
Pit #3: North facing, deeper section of snowpack with about 95cm to the ground and experiencing some light wind loading. CT5 Q2 10cm storm slab. CT8 Q3 @ 20cm (likely surface hoar layer mentioned above). CT 28 Q3 @ 50cm above a slightly weaker layer. Basal facet layer (approximately 5-7cm) also appeared to be sintering rapidly and did not appear to break during compression tests. No propagation on the ECT.
Skied 3 runs that day in the main drainage at east, south-east, and north facing aspects, respectively. While the snow pack did not have a significant or established base, nothing was triggered.
Light to heavy snow and overcast all day. Calm winds with occasional gusts.
Calm winds with occasional gusts. Some snow transport observed on ridges toward north facing aspects, but quick surface block test showed little signs of wind slab development. This observation was confirmed in pit tests. Some light scouring around tree and rock bases.
New Snow: 3-6″
No natural avalanches observed and no slides were triggered while skiing.
Experienced some wumpfing and shooting cracks while skinning up the north facing aspect through trees from main drainage in the crystal amphitheater. However, these signs of instability appeared to be localized to areas of snow cover over deadfall and sapling undergrowth and did not propagate beyond a couple feet at most.
Observer: Zak Clare-Salzler