Observation Date: 02/09/2020
Bass Creek, Lappi Lake trees.
Snowing steadily for a majority of the day. Mid teens Fahrenheit.
Strong, intermittent, swirling gusts. Plenty of snow transport but not forming wind skins/slabs.
New Snow: 12+”
Given that we walked into an astonishing 30+ inches of dense storm snow, we were anticipating hair trigger conditions and large natural avalanches. This, however, was not the case. We found the storm snow to be absolutely welded to the underlying snowpack, and did not observe any red flags throughout the day, aside from minor sloughing on very steep cliffs. We stuck to low angle terrain, but jumped on numerous steep rolls, without no concerning results whatsoever. We were pretty surprised to find a 240-280cm, settled, right-side-up snowpack at 7500 feet, and downright shocked to see a complete lack of avalanche activity in the area, even on the major performers in the drainage.
I’m optimistic that this storm has set the Bitterroot up nicely for greatly improved skiing. It’s hard to say what the storm totals actually were up high, but it was almost too deep to ski in moderate terrain. Trailbreaking was extremely difficult, often thigh deep, so kudos to whoever slogged it up to the ridge west above Lappi lake on Saturday, that can’t have been easy and we greatly appreciated the effort!
Observer: Adam Pohl