Forecaster Observation-Skookaleel Ridge, Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation-Skookaleel Ridge, Whitefish Range
Region: 
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 04/04/2017 - 13:00
Location Map: 


Red Flags: 
Rapid warming

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Took advantage of the sunshine and went on a quick tour up to Skookaleel Ridge to see how the sun and warmth was impacting the surface snow and crusts.

We saw no signs of instability other than the rapid warming of the few centimeters of snow on the surface.

At the ridgeline around 6800 feet there was plenty of sunshine.  On the south aspect, we found the snowpack to be 195 cm deep.  There were 2 cm of new snow on top of a crust.  The new snow was quickly warming in the sunshine.  The crust was actually a series of crusts that went down another 70 cm and ranged from Pencil to Knife in hardness.  Below the crusts was about 15cm of 4F to 1F rounds on top of another crust.

On the North aspect, the temperature was near freezing and surface snow was not yet impacted by the sun or warm temperature.  There was about 5 cm of light new snow on top of a 5 cm, pencil hard crust.  Below the crust, there were 30 cm of 4F rounds on top of a more significant Pencil to Knife hard crust.

The few centimeters of surface snow was warming and becoming saturated on solar aspects, but was not impacted in the shade or on the non-solar aspects by mid-afternoon.  Where we were, there just wasn't a lot of surface snow above the crusts to become a problem for loose wet avalanches.  As the crusts break down with continued warming, more snow will become available for loose wet avalanches.

Large cornices continue to persist.  Failure of cornices is difficult to predict, but the chances increase as the temperatures warm and the spring progresses.  Eventually, they will fail.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Warming
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
More detailed information about the weather: 

A solid freeze overnight started things off cool.  Where there was shade or cloud cover, it was still below freezing at elevation around noon.  Where the sun was out, the temperatures were a little above freezing and very pleasant around 1300 and just kept warming through the afternoon.

Activity: 
Skiing
High Temp. (C): 
2
Low Temp. (C): 
-2