Hard Crusts and Near Surface Facets on Virginia Lakes Ridge

Location Name: 
Virginia Lakes Ridge
Region: 
Other Area
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 03/03/2021 - 14:00
Location Map: 


Red Flags: 

Observation made by: Avalanche Specialist
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

We snowmobiled up to Virginia Lakes Ridge today to see if any weak layers were forming at the snow surface and if the snow was heating up on south facing slopes. It was generally overcast today but the sun was able to poke through the clouds occasionally. Winds were light out of the SE and temperatures were cool. 

We dug a pit on a protected NE aspect at 9400 ft. We observed weak near surface facets at the surface and no significant results in an ECT. The basal facets continue to be unreactive. The near surface facets were only present on well protected, cold north facing slopes near and below tree line. Once we moved up to more wind affected areas on northerly aspects near and above tree line, the snow became very wind affected with widespread hard wind board. 

Snow surfaces on southerly aspects generally remained frozen today. Descending the S facing near and above tree line slope locally named the "poop chute" off of Virginia Lakes Ridge around 2PM, snow surfaces were fully frozen. Most of these S facing areas had very hard melt freeze crust, but some had a breaker melt freeze crust at the surface that was surprisingly thin. The breaker crust was above dry, cold snow and showed a less significant history of melt freeze transitions than in other areas we've been to recently. On some southerly slopes below tree line there was some surface heating, but it was isolated and likely not enough for any loose wet activity. 

Light snow appeared to be begginning to fall in the high peaks during our drive back to town around 3PM. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Southeast
Accumulation rate: 
None
More detailed information about the weather: