Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stormy Adventures and Misadventures

The pre-frontal snow never got going, but Mother Nature finally delivered the goods today with the frontal passage and post-frontal snow.  I had a day of wild adventures and misadventures, all with a strong meteorological influence.

I did about a 5 hour solo ski tour out of Big Cottonwood Canyon and got to watch the front penetrating across the shoulder of Kessler Peak.  All I can say is wow.  The photos below were taken at 9:45, 9:46, and 9:47 am and illustrate the dramatic change that occurred with the cold frontal passage.

Immediately following the frontal passage, there was an extended period with snow pellets or small graupel, which probably reflects the very strong rising motion at the leading edge of the front.  

After a bit of a lull around noon (I could briefly see the sun through the light snow), there was an explosion of dendritic aggregates just after 1 PM, with some very high snowfall rates where I was skiing.  Dendrites are those gorgeous, 6-armed snowflakes, and aggregates mean that they are entangled together.  

Then the misadventures began.  I got to the car at 2:30 and enjoyed a snowpacked white knuckle drive down Big Cottonwood.  Upon getting to the bottom of the canyon, I learned that Little Cottonwood was closed until 4:30.  My son was at Snowbird, and I knew the timing of that closure was the kiss-of-death for any hope of him being able to get down the canyon by bus before nightfall.  Thus, I opted to hang around and retrieve him from Snowbird myself.   While killing time, I got this great view of the storm raging above the mouth of the canyon. 

The canyon opened promptly at 4:30, beginning the long escapade up and down the canyon while it was puking snow in the upper canyon.  

White snake going up 
Red snake coming down
Total time from Spruces to my home in the aves, including a 1.5 hour wait at the bottom of the canyon, 4.5 hours.  Blood is thicker than water.

Hope you were able to enjoy it.  Following the passage of the front, snowfall totals at Alta-Collins were 7 inches by 3 PM, 9 inches by 5 pm, and 12 inches by 7 pm.  Finally, a real storm!

1 comment:

  1. blood is thicker than water, for sure. Good on ya...but you should have gotten a room for the pow day tomorrow!