The pain at Cain is graupel

North Island

AvCan Vancouver Island , Friday 24th March, 2023 4:50PM

With new snow in the hills, we headed to Mount Cain to see how it was bonding to our latest crust. By noon, there was 15-20 cm of new snow. Beneath this new snow lay 1-3 cm of graupel, on top of the melt-freeze crust that formed earlier this week. In the morning it was -5 and the new snow remained dry, but by 1 PM the sun started peaking out, and the surface snow quickly became moist. The winds were calm to moderate throughout the day, predominantly from the NE, but did vary quite a lot in direction. On the ridgetops, the new snow had been stripped down to the crust in many areas, and created wind slabs up to 40 cm deep in the lee. We found that in a hand shear test, the snow was sliding very easily in the graupel. In our snowpack tests we also found that the graupel layer was quick to fail, but since we did many of our snowpack tests before the sun came out, much of the new snow was lacking in slab properties. However, we began to see the snow become more of a slab on our way down. We took a lap down through the resort and found that you could feel the crust beneath the new snow if you turned too hard, but if you could stay above the crust the skiing was quite pleasant.

Snow conditions were: Crusty, Powder. Weather conditions were: Stormy, Sunny. We rode: Dense trees, Mellow slopes. We avoided: Alpine slopes, Convex slopes, Steep slopes. Riding quality was good.

Avalache Conditions: Rapid temperature rise to near zero degrees or wet surface snow.