Loose Wet – Spring conditions continue to be the dominate theme with temperatures overnight once again struggling to fall below 32 degrees for any length of time at most reporting stations. Todays forecast is calling for mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies as a cold front passes to the north of the forecast area with moderate Westerly winds aloft. The combination of cooler temps, cloud cover, and moderate winds will likely slow daily thawing in the mid and upper elevations (~10,500’ and above) and limit Loose Wet activity to mostly solar aspects below ~10,500’ or lower. Below ~10,500’, limited convective cooling and mixing will see the surface snow thaw more rapidly as temperatures begin to climb during the day. Solar aspects will warm the quickest due to the direct sunlight, with northerly and shaded aspects following as the ambient air temperatures begin to climb during the day. Northerly and shaded slopes above ~9000’ are seeing strong warming at the surface but remain below freezing deeper in the snowpack. As a result, Loose Wet releases on northerly aspects are less likely to erode deeply into the snowpack and will generally be smaller in size.
Yesterday, moderate winds aloft helped to keep temperatures in the upper elevations cooler limited thawing to just the surface snow (aka good corn skiing). High temperatures today will be cooler and additional cloud cover will limit Loose Wet activity to treeline and below (~10500 and below), with the biggest concern focused on solar aspects.
If the snow is so deep that it makes it difficult to turn or boot penetration becomes excessive, this is a strong sign that the surface snow is saturated and loose it’s time to move onto slopes with firmer snow, shady slopes, or lower angles.