Just about when we thought the year might be a total loss, the snow has started to fall again. We are far from out of the woods, needing another metre of base is to fill in the stumps and slide-alder present in most of our great touring area’s here on the coast. Last weekend we ventured out to see what the latest storm brought, and to get a good sense of the approach challenges that still linger down low.
What did we find? Well sadly, a low snow pack with some decent skiing above 1600m. The lower approaches on the Coquihalla are slick, icy and the tree skiing is.. well not really tree skiing, more like stump avoidance. Like our abnormally low snowpack there are some other challenges that are usually foreign to most of us on the coast. Then there is the snow pack. It is a total mixed bag of facets and crusts – really messy. The incoming storms are likely to cause additional loading that may cause the deeper instabilities to wake up. Check out the mayhem the snow pack is causing in Rogers Pass. This could be the Coquihalla after this weekend’s storms. Scary stuff. Keep the powder stoke down and the avi antenna up.
What is this all telling us? It is telling us to keep a watchful eye and don’t assume our snowpack is going to react in its normal fashion. Really assess your line choice. How do we do that? Check out this great read from Alpine World Ascents to get some more insight. This is a great year to take a Avalanche Course to see an atypical snowpack and watch a guide in action navigating the challenging conditions for a great learning experience.
It is time to crack a beer and pray for a big dumps in January! Check back late next week as we update from (hopefully) better snow in Revelstoke. All indications, is it going off! Have fun and shred safe!