Changing Rockies Conditions

Words By: Simon Coward

So stoked to report that the cold spell has broken, nice to not have to plan for -20 and below for a little bit, in saying that though the wind is still a factor and is keeping things chilly in exposed areas.  After looking at weather reports and the avalanche.ca reports, our Monday Funday had us heading for some mellower terrain.  Howling winds, new snow and buried surface facets from the cold spell had us thinking very conservatively as far as terrain went.

We chose a zone at around 2400m (treeline) with south through east facing exposure, what we found very much reflected the avy forecast.  There was a super widespread soft windslab overlying the cold spell surface facets, and in really exposed areas a 20cm + hard slab has formed, which, when combined with convex rolls was creating very widespread cracking.  We tested a number of these features in flat terrain and had cracksks running upwards of 30 metres.

With that info in mind we started off in low angle well supported slopes and found fun skiing on a mix of soft new snow and low density wind slabs.  We rode one short 30 degree supported pitch which rode beautifully and we saw no sluffing or signs of instability.  On some small terrain ski cuts on convex rolls, only 30 metres away we had very easy sluffing in the top 10 - 15 cms of snow.  It was basically soft windslab sitting on facets.


PHOTO:  Ali having a great time, enjoying some low angle pow shredding.

To finish the day off we rode a super sheltered SE facing pillow line, which, had seen zero wind effect.  Needed some more snow to fill it in to rally make it hum, but we had some fun bouncy pillow lines in there.  Overall a great day with much better visibility than we anticipated.

Conditions are definitely on the change so make sure to check the avy and weather forecasts before heading out.

This will be our last report before Christmas so the Split HQ team want to wish everyone a safe, merry (and hopefully) pow filled holiday season.

Cheers

 

The Splitboard HQ Team