Tour: Ascended from Heather Meadows to Artist Pt, descended Table South slopes, ascended toward Ptarmigan Pass, ascended Video Peak via Chugach Impersonator, descended NE Face Video, ascended Ptarmigan Ridge, descended Heli Run, gained Table via Back Pocket, descended Corner Pocket to car.
Visibility: Excellent Saturday, the opposite on Sunday AM.
Surface Conditions: Northerlies held compact "wind-pressed" snow, which skied fast, but occasionally hit bottom. Usual southerly aspects shed inconsequential loose wets throughout the day with highly variable (mostly poor) riding conditions.
Recent Avalanches: Saw debris from one natural soft slab (~D1.5) from apparent cornice fall midway up Video peak where NE Face meets climber's L side of Chugach Impersonator. Likely during/after 2/7 storm. Seemed like Suspended Animation on Lake Ann Peak ran naturally and relatively large (D2/D2.5) during same storm too.
Snowpack: Dug pit around 5,500', N aspect, 40ish degree slope near the top of the uptrack of Chugach Impersonator (pit was climber's R of descent route underneath a large rock buttress that forms the peak's summit). 120cm pit depth w/ 10-15cm of "wind pressed" storm snow from 2/9 + 2/10 and 55cm from 2/7-present. Right-side-up structure 4F->2F->1F. Results: CTM (16) @ 55cm - Q2/RP, CTM (17) @ 55cm - Q2/RP, ECTP 21 @ 55cm - Q2/RP. All results seemed to be on 55cm deep storm snow/old snow interface. While the compression test results were somewhat expected, we didn't expect an extended column test to propagate, and while the resistant nature of the fracture wasn't a clear red-flag in my book, we chose to ride the mellower NE face rather than the steeper N face. Overall stability seemed good in the areas we travelled in today aside from this steeper, alpine elevation slope that had clearly received wind.
Commentary/Entertainment: A rather vocal tourer with the build and friendliness of your average bar-fighter had some feedback on my previously mentioned pit location. While I'm generally open to feedback, he began by addressing me as a "f*cking rookie", proceeded to advise a pit was "f*cking stupid" because he and his buddies skied 3 runs and "deduced" the slope was stable (diff aspect & angle, fwiw), and concluded his tirade with "get f*cking lost, go back to swift creek, we own this mountain"... His tirade continued, but I started to tune it out.
I wasn't really sure how to react (never experienced this in a decade of touring), and knowing the skiing on the NE face would be excellent, I apologized, asked if he'd like me to fill in the pit even more completely (no answer, just more name calling), and high-tailed it to my partner and the sweet sweet pow.
Bottomline: Getting sucker-punched by and "adult" with the vocabulary and diplomacy of your average 7th grader seemed more likely than popping a slab Saturday... Maybe I shouldn't have dug the pit after all? Oh well, it'll be gone when the next storm rolls in Sun/Mon.
"Owner" of Video Peak, if you're reading - Let me know where I should mail the rent check for trespassing on "your" summit and what the permitting process is for digging pits there. Also consider posting "No Trespassing" signs or getting Gasden flag patterned skins :)
Be nice out there ya'll! xoxo.