graupel squall

Lizard Range and Flathead

dzskiz , Monday 12th April, 2021 7:40AM

Snow conditions were: Deep powder, Powder. Weather conditions were: Cloudy, Stormy, Sunny. We rode: Mellow slopes, Open trees, Steep slopes. We avoided: Alpine slopes, Sunny slopes. Riding quality was amazing.

Avalache Conditions: 30cm + of new snow, or significant drifitng, or rain in the last 48 hours.

Incident

Storm snow had been sluffing far and fast on previous run but had no slab properties. Then a strong squall of graupel came in during our 2nd uptrack adding moisture to the storm snow. This was enough to give the storm snow enough propensity to propagate. Group communication about this sudden change and terrain selection due to it was poor. Skiier triggered the storm slab underneath convex roll on 3rd turn in and got pulled fall line into gully tumbling several times and fighting to stay on the surface before impacting trees and losing both skis. Skiier went for a 70m ride before coming to a stop after being slowed down by the trees. Debris was up to 1.5m deep in the slope angle change of the runout. Luckily the incident was only a search for buried ski, which was eventually recovered. Skiier came away with a bruised knee and some lessons about terrain management, group communication, sudden changes in snowpack, human factors.