3 Dec 2016

December 3, 2016


    Old glide crack/slump on Whistler Friday.

   Xc (cornice control with explosives) produced up to Sz 1.5 on Whistler Friday, limited Sz 1's with
   Sc (ski cut) in steep features on WB in wind affected new snow.


    Snow to the valley early Friday morning, Dec 2, 2016.

    Low moist cloud layer made it challenging mid mountain. Icing conditions if you were in a heli!

    Snowing at Mid Gondi on Whistler in the morning.  FL went to 1500 meters by noon.

    There were a few sucker holes in the afternoon. Much drier than was forecasted :(

    Power Flurries later in the afternoon.

Weather Observations for December 3, 2016,: taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters    -8, Winds were 50-70 KPH SSW --Horstman Hut Station
2180 meters    -8, Winds were 45-70 KPH SSW   --Whistler Peak
1860 meters    -6, Winds were 45-100 KPH SW    --Rendevous
1835 meters    -5, Winds were 30-60 KPH SW      --Roundhouse
1650 meters    -4, 1 cm of new snow, 2 cm in 24 hrs, 166 cm Base, RH 95%  --Pig Alley
1550 meters    -4, 1 cm of new snow, 3 cm in 24 hrs, 113 cm Base        --Catskinner 
  660 meters   +1, Valley Temp, Max Temp Yesterday was +3.0. 5.5 mm of Precip recorded yest

    As of 07:00 Hrs this am we have broken cloud and unlimited visibility.


Unsettled conditions this morning, then a weakening front will move through this afternoon with a more vigorous impulse of precip this evening in a Westerly flow. The FL should hover in the 900 meter range most of the day then descend to the valley early Sunday morning. A cold upper  level trough will bring unsettled weather Sunday with the possibility of some isolated flurries. A modified arctic outbreak will bring colder temperatures and North wind for the beginning of next week. The next snow should arrive Wednesday night into Thursday. Guesstimates 5-10 cm by Sunday morning.

    Westerly flow today with light snow by this afternoon, cold front for tonight.

    Saturday night into early Sunday morning.

    Looking unsettled Sunday, cold upper level trough.

     Much cooler air flows in aloft Sunday into Monday in a Northerly flow.

    Monday is looking interesting!!


Mountain Skills--Good, Better, Beacon Practise: Backcountry Magazine

Avalanche warning issued in Montana: GNFAC

Stevens Pass Ski Patrol Resource: Washington State

Snowing in Hawaii: Surfing/Skiing


Thanks to Brent Phillips of Spearhead Mountain Guides for the observations and photo:

Pit off Ipsoot Dec 1, 2016. Run Raltney. N asp 30* 2000m ~ 2m above crust. CTM 15(RP) down 30 DTTH 27 (BRK)down 187. Things feel tight. Gl well filled in but still some small holes at toes of gl and moats around rocks.

            Pit from Dec 1, 2016.                                                                     Evan Stevens Image


Daniel O'Keefe
Dec 2, 2106

260cm HS on east aspect backside of Flute. 15cm easy to trigger storm slab in wind affected areas but otherwise pretty stable at treeline and below. Well settled snowpack down to November crust prevalent at 170 and moist below that to ground. Riding was excellent!

     East Aspect of Flute                                                                                  Daniel O'Keefe Image

    T Bars on Whistler were the highest lift access Friday!!

   T-Bog Training.

    Awesome conditions for December Second.

2 Dec 2016

December 2, 2016


    No new avalanche activity to report but take note of the cornice development!!


    First Light Thursday December 1, 2016--dark and grey!!

    Improving visibility in the morning.

    Eventually it became a fabulous morning.

    Clouds did come back at around noon with some light flurries.

    Image from 13:00 Hrs, Thursday.

    Satellite image from same time frame as above image.

    A brief moment of sun at days end.

Weather Observations for December 2, 2016: taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters    -5, Winds were 50-75 KPH S     --Horstman Hut Station
2180 meters    -5, Winds were 50-70 KPH S     --Whistler Peak
1860 meters    -3, Winds were 30-55 KPH SE   --Rendevous
1835 meters    -2, Winds were 20-70 KPH S      --Roundhouse
1650 meters    -2, 4 cm of new snow, 4 cm in 24 hrs, 171 cm Base, RH 99%  --Pig Alley
1550 meters    -4, 3 cm of new snow, 4 cm in 24 hrs, 115 cm Base        --Catskinner 
  660 meters     0, Valley Temp, Max Temp Yesterday was +3.0. 0.2 mm of Precip recorded yest

Normal Temperatures for this time of the year are Max 0 Min -5 at 660 meters.

    As of 07:00 Hrs this am we have obscured skies, variable visibility and it is snowing 1 cm per hour.


A warm front in a Westerly flow will bring light precipitation to the area today with a FL which may rise to 1400 Meters. A cold front will follow later in the day with the FL dropping to about 1000 Meters by tonight. We may see some breaks tonight before another cold front moves through the area, with light snowfall and a descending FL on Saturday. This cold upper level trough of low pressure and associated cold front will bring the FL down to sea level by early Sunday morning. Looking cold Sunday through Wednesday. Hopefully we will see a shift by Wednesday night with more snow!!
Guesstimates 8-12 cm by Saturday morning, 10-15 cm by Sunday morning.

    Westerly flow with most of the precipitation to our North.

    Light snowfall expected for today.

    A different perspective.


Volkl 108 Review: Outside Magazine Video

509 Volume II-- Sled Flick: Teaser

Telemark Skiing Today vs Its Birth in 1850's: Norway


Knowledge, Common Sense are useful Tools in Avoiding Avalanches: CNFAIC 

British Ski Instructor wins his case in French Courts: PlanetSki

More information on the avalanche in Austria last week: PlanetSki

Ski Touring News: Wildsnow.com


Photos and observations from Jeff Van Driel:

Hi Wango,
I went out for a ski on the Duffey today and got some beta. Early season conditions prevail. Approaches and forested terrain remain challenging below treeline. At treeline and above, coverage is decent but underlying features have yet to be smoothed over resulting in 'playful' skiing on normally smooth slopes. No glacier travel today, but I would approach them with caution and preparation. 15cm of low density snow overlies a layer of surface hoar size 2-3mm at 1930m NW aspect. No results yet on this layer as there is not enough load or cohesion above. Below this, the snowpack resistances increase gradually to the crust down 100cm.  No results on the crust as the bond appears to be good. Height of snow is 150cm. 
We had broken skies, no precip no wind and it was -5.0 at treeline. Ski pen was 25cm and foot pen was 65cm. 
No new slab avalanches observed, just small isolated natural loose sluffs out of steep terrain. 
Enjoy the snow!


    Pit from Dec 1, 2016                                                                                          Jeff Van Driel Image

    Looks like good snow on the Duffy.                                                                    Jeff Van Driel Image

Lee Lau 
December 1, 2016

Ski quality average. Fast light snow on SE facing slopes with ski pen approx 30cms on Flute Shoulder. Also blower on N facing slopes on Oboe with coverage fat at 1900m and then creeks showing at 1700m; quite the variation.

Hint of windslab on Nfaces which then became a stout supportive slab below a wind and powder skin on NW slopes on Lesser Flute reentering ski area. Still fun fast snow.
It's so obvious as to not need be stated but clearly the coverage down low would be character building.. Cornices already large! Winds light from SE. Temps - 5.
    Awesome morning!!

    Not sure if I have ever seen a skin track up to the Chimney!!

    Cold enough Thursday morning for some snow production.

    Good looking December First.

    Light flurries in the afternoon, with cloudy skies.

1 Dec 2016

December 1, 2016


    Still evidence from a natural sz 3 avalanche on Blackcomb Peak from last week.

    No avalanche activity reported yesterday from WB.


    Early morning light on Wednesday.

    Wednesday Morning, November 30, 2016.

    Image from the same time frame as above.

    Power flurries Wednesday morning, 1 cm recorded at 1550 m by 14:30 Hrs.

    Nice light just before sunset.

    Sunset Wednesday from the valley.

Weather Observations for December 1, 2016,: taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters    -9, Winds were 15-25 KPH SE --Horstman Hut Station
2180 meters    -6, Winds were 15-25 KPH S   --Whistler Peak
1860 meters    -7, Winds were 10-15 KPH SE --Rendevous
1835 meters    -7, Winds were 10-20 KPH SE --Roundhouse
1650 meters    -5, trace of new snow, 1 cm in 24 hrs, 178 cm Base, RH 95%  --Pig Alley
1550 meters    -5, trace of new snow, 1 cm in 24 hrs, 116 cm Base        --Catskinner 
  660 meters   +1, Valley Temp, Max Temp Yesterday was +2.5. 0.8 mm of Precip recorded yest

    As of 07:00 this am we have overcast skies and unlimited visibility.

For the forecast:

Unsettled weather for this morning, cloudy most of the day with a warm front moving in by Friday morning with the FL possibly going as high as 1300 meters in a Westerly Flow. Another front arrives for Saturday with overcast skies and steady light snowfall, with a cold front as it passes through. The FL should drop to the valley by Saturday night. Sunday is looking unsettled with colder temperatures as an arctic outbreak begins to push in for Monday. There is a short lived front expected to pass through Sunday night, before we see more ridging on Monday.  Guesstimates: 1-2 cm by Friday morning, 6-8 cm by Saturday morning, 12-16 cm by Sunday morning. I am sure there will be some adjustment in these numbers as we get closer. Looking cold early next week!!

    Dry cloudy day.

    Very weak high pressure with dry low level cloud.

    Weak warm front for Friday.

    Overcast and snow for Saturday with a cold front at the trailing end of the passage..

    Cold air out of the North Sunday, with a weak front along the coast.


The Danger Season: Alaska

New Sensor--What goes on inside an avalanche: PhysOrg

Aspen Snowmass encourages uphill skiing: UnofficalNetworks

Old article on the blog: Whistler.com

Conditions Report--November 30, 2016: Mountain Sledder



November 30 at 9:05am

Skied Aussie Couloir and Stonecrop Face yesterday Nov 29. Skins on at the Joffre Lakes parking lot with a handpicked trail by lots of foot traffic. Followed summer trail, easy skinning except a few icy spots where the stairs were exposed. ~30-50cm on the ground below the 2nd lake with no base. Challenging to ski down at the end of the day. Lower two lakes not frozen but did skate across the upper lake. Ascended the moraine on lookers left of the Matier glacier and found a bit of cross loading off the moraine itself but nothing once we got in the gully beside the glacier. No recent icefall. Fairly easy trail breaking to the base of the Aussie and then bottop to thigh deep booting to the summit with nearly waist deep for a bit at the pillow near the summit. Looks like couloir flushed well in the last storm cycle. Good skiing down with some powder and a nice firm base. Shot across to Slalok and took the standard route up to the summit. Skied from the summit off the main face and then at the bottom of the ice traversed hard skiers right to get into the slot couloir that is on skiers right of the bottom half of the face. Very cool - ski width wide in some sections. Stonecrop was mostly wind pressed but the apron opened up to nice powder skiing. Good snowpack throughout the day that felt fairly rightsize up and progressively quite dense. We found some small pockets of windslab in lee areas that we were able to kick off with ski cuts but couldn’t get any propagation. Nice to ski some classics!

    Nice looking conditions in the Meager Area.                                              Mario Chartrand Image

    Skiing in the trees on Wednesday.

    Lots of keener's heading to the Horstman Hut.

    Old fracture line from last week.

    Cool light days end yesterday.