Forecaster Observation - Canyon Creek, southern Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Canyon Creek, southern Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 03/21/2016 - 11:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

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

The main objective for this tour was to see how the surface snow on shaded aspects reacted to the well above normal temperatures that occurred on Sunday and the light rain of Monday morning. 

All aspects in the southern Whitefish Range experienced a rain event on Sat/Sun March 12 and 13. Up to 14 inches of low density snow was deposited on this rain crust Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning. On sunny aspects this snow deteriorated quickly with minimal sun exposure. However, on shaded aspects this snow remained relatively low density until the heat wave of Sunday. This mornings light rain further deteriorated the surface snow quality. 

We found the top 15 cm of surface snow to be moist with the remaining 15+ cm, above the crust, to be dry but denser than a week ago.

While skiing upper elevation steep terrain each turn would initiate numerous rollerballs and pinwheels. As we dropped in elevation the surface snow became more moist and each turn on steep terrain would initiate small wet loose slides. These slides involved all of the snow above the rain crust and would readily slide on the crust. We practiced sluff management to avoid being tripped up by wet heavy debris. 

Our north facing pit at 6350 feet showed a snow depth of 345 cm.

An obvious well preserved graupel layer that we found last week still exists in the surface snow.  Unlike last week this layer was not reactive in ski cutting and only somewhat reactive in stability tests.

We found the well known southern Whitefish Range surface hoar 94 cm below the surface but it was not reactive in any of our stability tests. 

Evidence of a wet loose avalanche cycle was seen in the Skook Chutes (Seven Sisters) that occurred over the weekend. Destructive potential of the debris was classified as D1 - D1.5.

We observed several glide cracks that had formed on sunny aspects.  These cracks had initially formed several weeks ago and were located on terrain that annually experiences glide crack development. 


Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate (Small trees sway)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: