Last few days I’ve been skiing and doing some AST style skills days on the 93N. Sunday I tagged along on an actual AST 1 course with MTN Guiding. Monday skied some laps and did a quick snow profile on Observation. Tuesday was a ski day at Bow Summit where we skied South Shoulder Chute (aka Dog Leg/Corner Chute/etc – looker’s left of Stem Couloir). Wednesday was a snow profile training day again on Observation and today skied a single lap on Helen Shoulder and dug a pit at high treeline.
The common theme is the snowpack depths are highly variable but the layers present (where there is enough snow) are less variable. Basically the upper snowpack has some wind slabs, the mid pack has 2 obvious crusts and the lower pack is facets. On Observation the lower, on ground, facets were wet and slowly rounding, while Helen Shoulders facets were dry and loose. We were getting compression test results in the medium tap range but on Observation it was the crust interfaces that reacted, while at Helen Shoulder only the wind slabs were going off. Bottom line there are problems but those problems are slightly different depending where you are, or at least it seems that way.
Still very limited observations and almost no MIN reports for the area, kind of sucks as there are a lot of people skiing up that way. Remember, you don’t need to post detailed information on a MIN report, nor do you need a certain level of training. Even by posting there was a crust here, or a shallow snowpack there on the MIN it gives forecasters something to work with.