Observation Date: 03/07/2020
This submission includes obs from both March 7th and 8th as part of an AIARE Level 1 course in the southern Swan range with Montana Backcountry Yurts.
The first day we toured from the Alpine yurt and dug pits on NE, E, and SE aspects at around 7200 in elevation. We observed a right-side-up snowpack and no CT, DT, or PST results. We did not do an ECT based on the depth of our layer of concern. Snow height was 245cm and therefore we did not dig to the ground. From there we toured up to the ridge just below 8000 ft and found good, soft snow on N and NE aspects despite the previous warming trend.
The following day we toured from the Alpine yurt up to the W ridge and dug on an ESE aspect at 7700 elevation. Here snow height varied from 185 – 270. We found similar snowpack conditions with a right-side-up snowpack and no tests results showing instability. We skied N and NE aspects and again found the best snow for skiing.
Temps during the two field days maxed out at 34 on both days where/when we took obs. Sky cover ranged from OVC to BKN and we did receive 2-3″ of snow during the tail end of 3/7 day into the evening.
Winds for both days ranged from calm to light from the SE-W-SW. A bit of wind transported snow was observed occasionally but not a red flag. Wind pillows were observed near ridgeline.
New Snow: 0-3″
Loose wet on S-SE-SW aspects, small, appearing to have occurred 3/5 and/or 3/6 from below treeline to treeline. Some cornice fall was also observed after the fact at ridgeline (7700 to 8000 ft) but did not step down into other layers.
Generally stability looks good and the best skiing we had was on N and NE aspects between 6500 and 8000 ft.
Observer: Jane Quinn