I went for a quick tour in Virginia lakes area today to get a look at surface conditions before the storm tomorrow afternoon. It was easy to see from the car that the winds have largely effected the area since my last visit to the drainage. Shifting winds have largely been removing snow. As a result, many areas I have skied previously this year are now comprised of elevated tracks and exposed rocks. There was still enough snow to snake my way up to South peak and get a closer look.
I encountered mostly supportable wind board and sastrugi during my travels today with the occasional patch of loose surface facets. While i did observe some minor surface cracking, I did not observe any concerning wind slab.
Digging in on a northern aspect at 10,500’ I found a total Hight of snow of 75 cm in a gully feature that has likely seen some wind loading. The entire snowpack at this location is faceted to some degree. While compression tests highlighted a weak layer 20 cm from the surface where a 1f+ older wind board was sitting on 4f Facets, I did not see propagation in my ECT test. While this structure was not overly alarming today, it will be interesting to see what pans out if and when we receive a significant load of new snow.
It was a pleasant day today with overcast skies, light southerly winds, and warm temperatures.