Sunday, February 24, 2019

2/17-2/24 Review, Powder Skiing and More Snow!

             What a week!  From wind, snow, and sun over presidents day to more powder and fluff through mid-week.  Last week was all time.  stable avalanche conditions, sunshine, calm winds, deep trail breaking and even deeper turns!  Late February is always good but this year was especially great.  We have a deep snowpack and stable conditions and a dry storm filled with cold air invection created the ultimate powder skiing week.   We did see some large (D2) Loose Dry Avalanches, and some Storm Slabs that settled out pretty quick.

Very Deep Trail Breaking
Large Loose Dry Deposition Piles

              Now looking to the future.  I sit looking at the Ogden Mountains.  There are giant plumes, as prefrontal Southwest winds have returned to the Ogden Mountains.  This will create reactive wind slabs.  Winds are currently blowing 20-30mph out of the SW with gusts in the high 40's.  These should settle down mid-day Monday as the front pushes through.  We are looking to get 10-15 inches of snow and 2.5ish" of SWE throughout the week, with a possibility of more through the beginning of March.  This storm will once again bring dangerous avalanche conditions to the Northern Wasatch and Ogden Zone.

U of U Atmospheric Sciences Department
U of U Atmospheric Sciences

                The Snowpack is looking pretty good in the Ogden mountains with no "outlier" avalanches occurring this week.   The only problem is the snow surface on MOST East through Northwest aspect especially above 7500ft.  We received so much low density snow over the week that our snow surface has started to facet through.  This is due to high temperature gradients in the top layer of snow.  Cold clear nights, with cold windless days have created this weak layer.  Todays winds could help disturb this layer of Near Surface Facets (NSF), but only time will tell.  Be aware of touchy avalanches as it starts to snow.  If you choose to travel in protected avalanche terrain the next couple days, bring your a game.  This weak layer could become a persistent weak layer (PWL) over the coming week.

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