Public Observation - Storm Day on Paola Ridge

Location Name: 
Public Observation - Paola Ridge, Flathead Range
Flathead Range - Middle Fork Corridor
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 02/20/2016 - 13:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

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

Toured up Paola Ridge today to point 7202.  Moderate W-NW winds blew all day with plenty of associated wind-loading. At times our skin track would disappear within an hour. Snowfall rates ranged from S2-S5 earlier in the day, but by 3:00 pm it had mostly stopped snowing and we were treated to broken skies and even a little sunshine.

We stuck to ridgelines and low angled slopes less than 35 degrees and stayed in the trees to avoid the actively forming wind slabs.  We did not observe any recent avalanche activity, but for most of the day visibility was limited to a few hundred yards.  On several small, wind-loaded test slopes we were able to get some shooting cracks that propagated 5-10 feet, but no slabs released.  Even though we didn't see any naturals, we were confident that on steeper, wind-loaded terrain we could have easily triggered wind slabs.

So we stuck to sheltered terrain and found great snow. Here the recent storm layers have come in right side up and were bonding well to the Valentines Day crust. The skiing was superb, pretty much all the way down to the valley floor.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate (Small trees sway)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
Precip Rate: 
S2; moderate snowfall, 2cm/hour