With cold temperatures, light winds, and a few showers through yesterday morning, windward areas are still primed with light winter snow ready for transport. Winds on Mammoth Mountain overnight were in the 20 mph range from a variety of directions. And winds across the region will again increase to between 20 and 30 mph from the SW this afternoon as a weak disturbance passes us by. A few showers and up to 1” of new snow may just be possible too. It’s moderate wind speeds like this that are the best at building wind slabs. Don’t ignore blowing snow, cornice formation, and rounded drifts just because it hasn’t snowed in a few days. These are the best clues for new, sensitive, wind slab formation. Be careful in steep alpine terrain.
Meanwhile, below alpine terrain, failures in our persistent weak layer seem to be showing up again in the Mammoth area. It’s like your couch-surfing buddy who promised to sleep in his van and not your living room, but now it’s cold out and he might be back for a while…
Limited observations yesterday hinted that a concerning layer of sugary facets may again present a problem. Whumphing was felt in the Mammoth Lakes Basin which is a direct sign that we haven’t seen the last of the potential for failure in this layer. Your best course of action, if you want to play near or below treeline, is to dig down and do your own stability tests on these facets. See if you can get a fracture to propagate. Pay attention to whumphs! They are the result of sudden collapse and not something to be ignored.
Below ~9,000’ the new snow will not be enough to cover the rocks and brush poking up from the surface.