Strong inversion in the Railroad Creek Valley, with thick cloud cover below about 5000'. Relatively cool today with some solar input, but not enough to initiate wet loose activity. Generally light SE winds yielded to stronger, but variable, gusts in the PM. Cols and features adjacent to alpine ridge crests experienced light loading today.
As in other areas region-wide, the 12/25-12/27 avalanche cycle was widespread in the local terrain. Deposition is now veiled by the most-recent storm snow, but it is rock-hard and unforgiving to the skier. We did not observe much evidence of widely propagating deep crowns, but abundant wet loose activity up to sz.3.
Recent wet loose avalanches occurred in steep solar terrain on Jan.1, but were limited to sz.1 with minimal entrainment observed.
Snow depths throughout the valley range from about 125cm at valley bottom, to over 300cm in favored alpine locations. Average snow depth Near and Below Treeline is probably 140cm to 180cm.
On southerly aspects, warming and solar influence on Dec.31-Jan.1 have transformed snow surfaces into something breakable, unsavory, and worth avoiding.
On northerlies, ski quality remains very good. Here, 30-70cm overlies the Dec.25 crust with a favorable bond. The typical log-skiing shenanigans around Holden are actually fairly reasonable at present, as the robust crust (usually) prevents skis from punching into voids and potential bear dens. Small surface hoar is growing and persisting in sheltered areas.
Higher, wind effects from recent gusty and variable winds are deteriorating ski quality in the alpine. Small but reactive wind slabs may exist in and around steep alpine col features.
Below the Dec.25 crust, the local snowpack is strong and lacking in problematic layers.
We could no longer discern the crust with a probe above about 7400' or so.
Layer Depth/Date: Jan.2 10-20cm
Comments: Building slabs observed on Jan.2, but with limited extent and isolated distribution
We observed minor cracking while skinning, but suspect deeper, more connected slabs may exist in and around isolated alpine features.