Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Best Skiing Is Not Found in the Driest Snow...


So, you think you know snow?  Well, Ed LaChapelle certainly new more than you.  Probably the preeminent American avalanche researcher, Ed wasn't fooled by the marketing hype about dry snow.  There's more to skiing than the average water content of freshly fallen snow.  

Case in point: Today.  Alta-Collins measured 11" of 13% water content snow.  Average at Alta is 8.4%.  Average at the Central Sierra Snow Lab near Truckee is about 12.5%.  So basically, Sierra Cement.  However, it skied great.  Lots of graupel.  Wonderful body.  Below is a septuagenarian friend of mine getting the goods on lower West Buffler.  

Of course I have had better skiing than today, but not in 20" of 4%.  More typically when the snow is stacked right with lower density on top of higher density.  That gives you flotation and bounce and makes for the hero snow we all love.  Body is more important than bone dry.

That's enough snow snobbery for one day.  In other news, prep for the opening is now in full swing at Alta.  The cats were out and in places the guns were running this morning.  

Hoping they allow uphill for a few more days. I'm also hoping for a bit storm cycle, although that looks unlikely through at least the weekend.  Some higher elevation riming possible tonight and tomorrow, with snow in fits and starts not adding up to much.  An angry inch if we're lucky.  

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