Remember those great early season snowfalls we had in September and early October? They've been hanging out and slowly turning into the weak snow we'll be talking about for the next few months.
Winter is HERE! There have been a number of interesting observations mentioned by the CAIC in the statewide weather forecasts, including a skier triggered avalanche, and results from control work done by CDOT near Loveland. The regular zonal snowpack bulletins from CAIC haven't started yet, but the active community in our area have reported some very sketchy conditions in the Cameron Pass area.
Stubborn and persistent. This might sound like a lot of people you know. Right now, this is how our snowpack is shaping up for parts of Colorado.
In the spirit of the season, today was a little cold, fairly tiring, and mostly gluttonous. Temps ranged in the mid 20's as we parked around dawn, heading up to take a look at the new storm snow.
The storm dropped around 8-10" at higher elevations, depending on how the wind moved things around. There were stretches of sheer joyous fluff with scattered moments of breakable crust that threw us off our guard. Luckily I'll just share the joyous moments :)
We were kept in check by a few signs of instability, the most significant being some cracking left after a big whumpf. This appeared to break down into the new storm snow, which was sitting on a old wind slab from last week (can you say bedlayer?).
So we stuck to lower angles and still found some great treats a few different elevations.
I'm a firm believer that you can find good skiing almost any day of the season - if you're looking to be able to do this yourself, join us for an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course to start building your avalanche skills toolbox.
The end of November is finally giving us enough flotation to keep away from rocks (well mostly) and trees (once I learn to steer again). There were reports of avalanches last weekend, which you can still see under 6-12" of new snow and wind deposits.
But the snow is skiing nice! Watch for rocks as always early season, it's not time to let 'er rip quite yet. I wish I had a pic of the core shot to prove who won the "find the first rock" contest.
The new snow is sitting on the early season sugar, proof again that the more things change the more they stay the same. I suspect that the slides from last weekend slid on the early season snow. How long will it take before this layer isn't a problem anymore? I hate to say it, but maybe April.
We had the mountain to ourselves, but it's always good to remember that people are jonesin' to hit some pow (and likely rocks) this time of year. Choose your ascent and descent routes based on your own goals and comfort level, no need to follow others' tracks if you don't like how they look or where they go. Your inner voice might be the biggest factor in keeping you safe this winter.