Mostly overcast today with a few breaks in the clouds where we could see blue sky. Snowing S-1 at times with surprising calm winds in our touring location. We did experience a few strong gusts, but looking up at the clouds and after seeing the wind in the parking lot, we were expecting much stronger. Looking at the weather station at the top of Crystal, wind gusts approaching 60 were recorded. We didn't experience anything close to that, so we must have been sheltered.
No recent avalanches observed
A generally strong, but still shallow snowpack was observed in the Crystal Mountain backcountry today. Snow depth was measured ~30cm at 5570' and increased to ~60 cm at 6230'. A small breakable crust likely formed yesterday on 12/7 and was found below ~4cm of fresh snow. Below the crust, there is some evidence of weak snow, but there simply was not enough snow above this interface to pose much of an avalanche hazard today. Deeper in the snowpack is a strong basal structure composed of Pencil/Knife hard snow that was formed by the recent atmospheric river events. This layer was measured to be about 20cm thick at 5570' and 50cm thick at 6230' and should be a prominent early season snowpack marker.
Minimal new snow overlaying a breakable crust created some challenging ski conditions, but the main takeaway was that low snow coverage still exists with plenty of open creeks, rocks, stumps, and other natural hazards present. Actively blowing snow and minimal recent wind transport were observed in all elevation bands.