Ridge tops gusts were recorded over 90 mph yesterday on Mammoth Mountain and Mid slope winds were observed to be very strong. These extreme westerly winds have heavily impacted the forecast area over the last couple of days. Field observations yesterday identified significant impacts on surface conditions, even in sheltered trees at lower elevations. While it may be possible to find areas where the winds have had less of an impact and soft snow still exists, it will be equally as likely to find areas of isolated wind slab below treeline today. Don’t be surprised to find recent wind deposits in areas you might not normally expect to see them. Keep an eye out for surface clues such as uneven snow surfaces, fat looking pillows, and smooth hollow sounding snow. Signs like these can help you identify and avoid potentially problematic areas.
Beyond the risk of isolated instabilities today, realize that variable surface conditions pose their own risks. Recent observations report slide-for-life conditions in exposed alpine terrain and trapdoor breakable crust in more sheltered areas. Be aware of the travel implications and be prepared for challenging surface conditions.