Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Search of Powder

With the central Wasatch getting the shaft earlier this week, we went deep into the Oquirrh Mountains today in search of powder.  It's March and who knows how many powder days are left, especially this year.

I always like to classify Oquirrh tours as being one part adventure, one part misadventure.  They are substantially drier than the Wasatch, with a more meager snowpack.  They are also far windier.  Snow always looks good from a distance (see image below), but the reality in the Oquirrhs is that anything without trees is often scoured right down to the sagebrush.  The key is finding wind-sheltered slopes.

The good news is that we did find some settled powder from Tuesday night's storm, as might be expected from the .7" of SWE that fell at the Rocky Basin Snotel.

On the other hand, we also found sun crusts, wind crusts, wind slab, and nearly every other snow surface imaginable.  Sometimes ski touring is a character building experience.

Upon returning to Salt Lake, I was greatly saddened to learn that Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer were killed in an avalanche this week in Grand Teton National Park.  I never met Steve or Chris, but greatly enjoyed Steve's blog.  My thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family.

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