View Full Version : wet snowpack with new snow
02-09-2005, 12:02 PM
I know nothing of snowpack and avie forcasting so I'm trying to pick up what I can here in the "relative" safety of the EC. Right now its 45* and we have about 3-4 wet inches of snowpack on the ground, we are predicted to get anywhere from 10 to 14 inches on top of this. Would this make a stable snowpack? Before the flames start I'm not planning on going anywhere just asking the question so that I can get a better understanding of avie science
02-09-2005, 01:33 PM
There are no easy answers about snow stability but -
How does the new snow start to fall? A cold spell that freezes the wet snow could give a perfect slide layer, warming during the storm could put heavy snow on to the lighter stuff that falls first. The ideal situation would be for a gentle change from warm to cold as the snow starts.
I was taught to always watch for changes and particulary the speed of the changes to trigger warning flags in the snow pack. Things like rapid changes in temp, heavy snowfall and particularly wind strength/direction - since wind can deposit snow at a far greater rate than just snowfall alone.
Dig some pits to see if what you expect to find is actually there - be concerned about anything you see that's unexpected. You're not ready to rely on your pit findings to determine what's safe to ski but it's good practice and a great habit to start.
Remember route planning is the only thing that's completely under your control always know what slope angle you're on, what's above you and what's below you.
Your next investment should be a avie course!
02-09-2005, 06:04 PM
x2 what was said above - im a jong also but:
learn from the snow - dig a pit and check it
take a look at the snow tests here in the forums, on the net, and the book "Snow Sense (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0964399407/qid=1107997788/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-1453383-2065604?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)".
02-09-2005, 06:26 PM
what are you calling a wet snow pack? is it many old layers of warming snow or freshly fallen high density snow?
there are a lot of variables here but it sounds like an early season snowpack here. i would like to see heavy wet snow on the ground that doesn't freeze the top layer solid before the new snow begins to fall. if the new snow comes in right side up (heavier/wetter snow on bottom with lighter/drier snow on top) then things are looking good.
with that little snow on the ground you should check to see if you have a rotten snowpack first. are the grains large, angular and plate like? remember that snow with a higher water content is heavier and can collapse a layer of facets.
what are the slope angles that you are looking at skiing?
what are the aspects? facets are usually morphed on the sunny aspects and can persist on the shady aspects.
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