Creeping valley fog and a few shifting clouds between 5000'-9000'. A surprisingly steady and cool NW wind at ridge crests. These factors combined to delay, and in some cases prevent, warming on solar slopes. The snowpack is locked up below the scant trace and totally unavailable for transport.
Any observed avalanches are approaching or exceeding 48 hrs. old. These are rugged remnants of the widespread Wet Loose cycle from Jan.12-13, up to sz 2.5. This debris adds further spice to an already unfriendly surface.
The recent rains and warmth have affected the upper snowpack, essentially to the top of our local ski terrain. Dry snow of reasonable quality is thoroughly guarded by a 10cm thick assemblage of melt-freeze over facets over freezing rain crust. On the positive, ski quality exceeded expectations today, which were initially hovering around a mind-set of injury prevention. We found strange bands of faceted rain runnels on cold aspects between 6000'-7000' where the skiing suddenly became quiet. And sheltered solars of the lower alpine zone softened by early PM, while remaining supportable. A delicate balance, trying to tread a thin shell of sun-warmed crust, over a January snowpack.
Needless to say, we observed no wet loose activity today. Instead, we tracked and noted the generally horrific snow surfaces with a blend of optimism, acceptance, and humor.
There are slick surfaces, facets, and surface hoar out there.
One could find steep, firm features on which to adventure, if drawn to such things.
Possible slide for life scenarios.