Winter is in its final throes before Spring officially arrives on March 20th. A more generous storm pattern than what we experienced in the early part of the season, has left us with a snowpack that experts claim is back to normal. Venturing above tree-line, or observing south facing aspects on the valley floor however reminds us that it has been a lackluster year for snow.
Winds have scoured the alpine tundra, but trails that are still protected by forest can have some excellent conditions. Powder on top of what has become a more solid base can be found in shaded areas especially in the upper forested zone below tree-line. Sunny sections of trail or glade can be crisp and crunchy after the warmth of the sun dissipates in the long shadows of afternoon.
Temperatures have fluctuated wildly, with cold accompanying storm systems and cool clear nights and unseasonable warmth, sometimes rising well into the high 40’s or more, between disturbances. These conditions have begun the process of crust formation, but the snowpack’s surface will need a bunch more freeze-thaw cycles before it is supportive enough for the annual ritual of crust skiing. Coverage overall remains good, with deep drifts covering short sections of trail that are exposed to the wind.