Warm Sun Cold Wind
AvCan Vancouver Island
We drove our sleds to the edge of Strathcona park today, then continued on foot up towards Jutland mountain. With the warming that was forecasted for the day, we hoped to get a good visual on any avalanches that were occurring. When starting out on our skis, we found that in the open and sun exposed areas there was a very breakable crust approximately 3cm thick, but in the shade the snow was still dry and light. Ski penetration was 20-40cm. Once we got to the base of Jutland we found a conservative line to start heading up, and noticed the snow was starting to ball up on our skins around 11am. The sun was shining strong but the moderate winds had a strong cooling effect. At treeline the wind effect was obvious and ridge top had been stripped down to the April 2 crust in some areas. We kept a close watch on the surrounding mountains, but were surprised to see less activity than we had anticipated with the forecasted warming. This is likely due to the wind chilling effect. In areas protected from the wind, the top 10cm of snow was wet and extremely sticky, this snow was creating large pinwheels and had the potential for loose wet avalanches. All of this added up to slow progress on the way down. I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful spring storm and our day of slush today, the cold is coming back, and we all know too well what that does to wet snow.
Snow conditions were: Heavy, Wet. Weather conditions were: Sunny, Warm, Windy. We rode: Mellow slopes. We avoided: Steep slopes, Sunny slopes. Riding quality was ok.
Avalache Conditions: Rapid temperature rise to near zero degrees or wet surface snow.