It was a pleasant day with mostly clear skies, although areas to the west were socked in with clouds and occasionally these would drift eastward into the Darland Mountain area for brief periods of time. Winds were mostly light and variable. Ridgelines had moderate gusts that would drift some snow around, but were not consistent enough to load slopes on lee aspects.
Wind Slab (24-48hrs old)
6800ft, East Aspect
Sheltered flat terrain at around 5000ft had approximately 75cm of snow, with 30cm of snow over the Christmas Crust. The new snow was well bonded to the crust and stability tests produced no results. The Christmas crust was around 15cm thick and supportable to boots and snowmobiles.
Total snow height increased as I gained elevation, with 100-120cm of snow at 6000ft and 190cm at 6600ft.
I dug a full profile at 6600ft on a NNW aspect and overall found a strong snowpack with 60cm of snow over the Christmas Crust. The crust in this location is around 20cm thick, knife hard, and very supportable. While the snow seemed well bonded to the crust and test slopes produced no results, I did get an ECTP 28 RP result on rounding stellars on top of the crust. Interestingly there is still dry snow below the crust, with a preserved layer of surface hoar directly beneath the crust. Out of curiosity, I did a PST on this layer with a result of 42/100 (END).
Truly, the most notable observations from today were some small (D1-1.5) hard wind slab avalanches that ran on easterly aspects near ridgelines at 6800ft. These had likely ran over 24hrs before I observed them. I was not able to get any wind-loaded test slopes to crack or produce any slabs today. Wind-affected snow was present in exposed terrain down to 5000ft.
Layer Depth/Date: 30cm 12/29-12/30