We hit rain, sleet, and snow while driving west along hwy 2 to Steven’s Pass at 07:30. Winds from SSW. I haven’t skied in this area this year, so I was hoping to simply get a feel for how the early season snow pack is developing. Hand pits along skin track showed dense layer of new wet snow on top of an unsupportive layer of what I presume to be cold new snow from last night(12/10), regardless it seemed as though there might be unsupportive faceting below a storm slab on top of an already robust crust situation from earlier in the season. I was able to trigger mini slides on steep rolls (see attachment), usually with one simple step into the hill. We dug a pit at 5k at 11:30 on NNW aspect in the vicinity of big chief mountain. HS110. 110-80cm Fist. 80-60 1F. 60-464F. 46-10F. 10-0 1F. Two notable failures. CTE2 Q2 @ 80 cm. CTE2 Q2 @ 46cm. The unconsolidated faceting at the base of the snowpack was also noteworthy.
New precipitation was still falling hard. The water falling from the sky ranged from a wintry mix, to snow, to graupel.
Hypothesis: while this much needed storm system will provide a more substantial base to the Steven’s Pass area, the fluctuation in temperature, wind, and precipitation type will produce a few issues of concern in the coming days. After the storm slab issue has passed, deeper issues in the snowpack could remain.