Ski and Avalanche Report December 23, 2014
SKI – Excellent powder conditions most everywhere away from gaps, ridges and passes as cold temps have dried things out on the surface. Toured up North Loveland along 27-Mile Icefall to beneath Tones Temple where winds were beginning to mess up the powder.
AVY – Brisk winds from the north were flagging peaks along the Chugach divide at Thompson Pass no doubt creating hazardous wind slabs on the higher S-SW aspects. Lower elevation seemed to be sheltered.
Though I found things more stable today by managing terrain, I’m still quite leery of a persistent weak layer found just beyond probe pole depth. Pits show this layer of brittle snow over less dense snow. Deep naturals at this troublesome layer have been tempered by cold new snow the past month, which was much lighter and failed to stimulate things. The possibility of remote releases still exist. With that said, I would be extra leery around large steep slopes until we get a “shedding”, or a broad avalanche event most likely from heavy snows.
WX-Continued mild with occasional clouds and maybe some flurries through Christmas Day and into Saturday. Bether weather on the Pass generally and sunny breaks as clouds cluster to the south. VOG should move out as soon as the wind changes direction on Wednesday The snow drought in Valdez continues but that may change in the long term by Sunday night as a strong low moves in from the west over cold air and actually runs over the Chugach bringing some decent snow amounts to Valdez for New Years Day based on current GFS Model Precip runs and Forecast Discussions.
The only recent natural I saw today, then a couple pictures of my tour.