Snow conditions in the Mammoth Basin were um, kinda ugly yesterday. Strong downslope winds were gusting to 50 mph at 9,000 ft. and wind drifts formed on any open area exposed to the wind. Pine needle drifts often stopped skiing progress. Frozen icy crusts were supportable in most places, and it was difficult to predict where skis would break through. I saw an unusual snow grain yesterday- rounded and clusters of rounds below the crust. The last week of ridiculously high temperatures, thin high clouds and mid-February solar radiation assisted in creating more bonds and a stronger snowpack below treeline. The avalanche danger is Low at middle elevations but isolated areas of instability may exist in steep terrain.
At treeline, the snow surface was becoming sastrugi, wave like ridges of snow, 2 ft deep. Two stability tests produced no results on the buried weak layers. The avalanche danger remains MODERATE above treeline because of continuous wind loading. New snow measured on study plots this morning will be hard to find at exposed elevations.