Rain over Valentine’s day led to firm icy crusts up to around 10,000’+, which were then covered by additional snowfall. In wind swept areas and at lower elevations where these icy crusts are at the surface or only shallowly buried, slide for life conditions exist! Surprisingly large expanses of sheen could be seen throughout exposed areas in the Sherwins yesterday where this rain crust is reflecting sun. A fall would be very difficult to arrest even on low angled slopes with this crust!
In terms of avalanches, this ice crust is a smooth bed surface for looser snow to easily slide on. Ice crusts are also notorious for developing weak faceted snow just above and below them. Especially with the cold temperatures we have been having, we will be monitoring these layers closely. Please submit your observations of these layers, and any other observations you may have to our site as well!