Observation Date: 01/01/2016
North of Lost Trail Powder Mt Ski Area, on Stateline Ridge.
Bluebird day with strong inversion. Mostly calm at elevation, low 20’s, full sun. More hoar frost added to the layer that’s been building over the last week – some crystals in the 15-20mm range, preserved in shaded areas. About an inch of new light snow and frost over the last couple days. Wind from W along ridgetops, 3-5 mph with gusts to 10. No snow transport observed at site, but substantial snow is available. Windscour from post-Christmas evident on S, W aspects, although it was somewhat covered with the 1″+ of new.
Today’s wind minor but signs of strong wind since last tour (Christmas).
New Snow: 0-3″
No natural or skier-triggered observed on tour. No settling, cracking or other reactions observed. Ski tracks obvious on some E & N aspects.
Total snow at pit – 180 cm. Fist from 180 to 145, 4F 145 to 120, 1F120 to 45, 4F 45 to 30 and 4F/F facets below 30 cm. CTM 14 @ 145 Q3, but could not duplicate. Other tests produced no reaction, including ECTX. Not a lot of slab character in the pit location. 37 degree slope, lightly treed, N-NE aspect. Within 200′ of ridgetop. Main avalanche problem appears to be soft slab/cold snow point release or rider triggered. Deeper layers that sheared last week not as reactive this week, but inconsistency with compression tests suggests caution and conservative approach. Surface hoar will provide a new weak layer when it gets buried.
Good travel & riding on shaded aspects but as noted in 12/31 advisory, be wary of inconsistencies around terrain features. S & W aspects pretty solid around ridgetop (8100′).
Observer: Ed Snook