Our recent stint of spring-like conditions has been a welcome change to the heavy snowfall of February. However as winter returns this week it will be important to keep in mind that the mixture of warm sunny days and cold clear nights have left us with variable surface conditions. Southerly aspects received intense solar warming this past week, leading to a consolidating and in some places diminishing snowpack. Shaded northerly terrain saw pretty extensive near surface faceting with recent observations noting loose sugary snow on the surface or buried underneath shallow melt-freeze crusts. While this kept ski conditions enjoyable it may lead to poor bonding between the new snow and the old, adding to the sensitivity of fresh wind slabs.
Make no mistake the danger trend is increasing, in addition to the wind slab concern if snowfall totals are more than expected we may start to see some signs of storm slab development even at lower elevations. Today is a good day to be aware of the conditions in your local areas and to keep track of how changing weather conditions are affecting the stability. An important factor to consider as more active weather returns to the range is the variability of our forecast area. While Mammoth received 6” last night snow totals may be less in the southern reaches of the zone. This elevates the importance of localized assessment. We encourage you to continue to submit your observations as these help us provide more accurate information in turn. Thank you for your continued support.