Rockies Conditions 30-Mar-17
Rockies Conditions 30 March 17
Welcome to one of the first weekends without a big weather system hitting the Rockies. How does it feel?
Things are slowly getting warmer due to the longer days and that sun is packing a punch right now. All throughout the Rockies solar slopes are getting baked so factor that into your travel plans. Now is the time to start dragging your lazy butt out of bed a couple of hours earlier.
Kananaskis just got a bit more snow than forecast, up to 30cm in places, but it seemed to be bonding fairly well to the suncrust we observed on solar aspects at BTL and at TL. That will undoubtedly change as we were observing it on an overcast day. We did see evidence of natural activity on both SE and NW aspects, presumably from solar radiation and wind loading. Higher up in the alpine things were a different story, with wind loading of up to 50cms on lee areas on a slippery wind hammered base. This did not inspire confidence.
We pulled the pin after seeing how much wind loading there was. Our hand
pit block slid off the wind layer below with light pressure. Another party skied this after we bailed so it was probably fine.
The 93N also saw some snow last weekend and the light winds have been picking this moist stuff up and putting it on lee aspects. Reactive wind slabs were observed on E slopes and that warm sun was making things move on the S/SW aspects. The skiing was quite good the alpine and high TL provided things stayed cool and cloudy; as soon as the sun hit the snow it became a sticky situation. A small pulse of snow heading into the weekend is expected.
Warm temps are starting to make things move. Start and finish early if you’re skiing solar aspects and look out for cornices!
Variability is the word here with the oh so prolific facets seemingly present in some areas but not others. The forecast is advocating you give every slope the stink eye. Probe and dig to see what’s down there before committing to a line. A cornice falling on a slope above you could also ruin your day. So get up early, bring your skin wax and have fun. Spring is just around the corner so make the most of the soft snow while it lasts.