Forecaster Observation - Skookoleel Ridge, Southern Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Skookoleel Ridge, Southern Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 03/28/2016 - 13:00
Location Map: 

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

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

Objectives for this tour were to: evaluate instabilities within the new snow, determine the type of surface the new snow fell on, recent wind slab/cornice development and reactivity.

On sunny aspects we found up to 4 inches of new snow that was deposited onto a sun crust formed 3/25 & 26. On select shaded aspects the new snow was deposited onto a melt freeze crust formed 3/25 & 26.  Other shaded areas did not possess this crust which was a bit of a mystery to us.

The new snow was low density (approximately 10%) and was not bonding well to the underlying crust on shaded aspects and poorly on sunny aspects.  In areas without the crust the new snow was adhering to the underlying denser snow.

There had been a bit of wind transport associated with the new snow but these areas still possessed cohesionless surface snow. Minimal cornice growth had developed with the new snow but substantial cornice growth had occurred recently.

Our wind loaded north facing pit at 6750 feet revealed:

  • A snow depth of 340 cm.
  • The 3/25 melt freeze crust was not present
  • The top 88 cm consisted of F hard snow (top) to 1F hard snow (bottom)
  • Below this was a 1 cm rain crust layer formed 3-13.
  • Below this was 19 cm of 1 F hard snow that capped the 5 cm thick 3/7 rain crust 

Stability test results:

  • No propagation occurred in our ECT tests
  • We had 3 Quality 3 failures in our compression tests in the top 50 cm. None of these layers were of concern to us.

Our south facing pit at 6700 feet revealed:

  • A snowdepth of 235 cm
  • The 3/25 sun crust was 2 cm thick 10 cm below the surface
  • At 25 cm below the surface there was a 3 cm crust
  • At 40 cm below the surface there was a 22 cm thick ice mass 
  • No propagation occurred during our stability tests. We had minimal results in our compression tests

Shallow loose dry surface sluffing occurred throughout our ski descent on steep south facing aspects

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Calm (No air motion)
Air temperature trend: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
Precip Rate: 
S1; light snowfall, 1cm/hour