VA Lakes - Warming snow on sunnies, cold variable on shadies

Across from BlackMtn & Blk Mtn
Submission Info
Saturday, January 16, 2021 - 12:00pm
38° 3' 2.088" N, 119° 17' 24.9216" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Another warm and sunny day touring around VA Lakes.  Made haste to sunny ESE facing terrain across from Black Mtn that looked filled-in in order to ski down by 11am.  Ski-pentration was up to ~5cm on way up and down, except for right next to rocks where the snow was warmer and less supportable.  Got minor roller balls and loose wet sloughing on the steepest parts of the terrain (see attached video), nothing big enough to be concerning here, but given a consistently steeper snow covered slope with southern exposure, I imagine the sloughing could be large enough today to sweep someone off their feet if they weren't careful.  ...of course finding that combination of variables that fit the bill given the thin and diminishing conditions on sunny aspects is becoming harder and harder to find.  Scrapped quite a few rocks skiing this slope, and snow was a bit on the heavy side, would have been better a half hour or more earlier.      

Went mid-way up one of the NW facing couloirs on Black Mtn afterward and found a shallow snowpack as well.  It had cold and wintery snow and was very variable with lots of firm windboard and erroded surfaces, with no signs of stability concerns currently. See attached pit.  

Enough snow still to ski to and from the car, but getting awfull thin in some spots. Only had to take skis off once for ~100yards on the summer trail as it went around Blue Lake.  Still, a beautiful day to be out in the mtns with barely any wind.           

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
ESE facing terrain across from Black Mtn
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Wind Speed: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Mostly Blue skies with some distant clouds far off on the horizon. Calm winds with occasional light breeze.    

-Air temp at 11,350'/ridgetop @ 11am = +3°C / 37°F.  Light east breeze only at ridgetop.

-Air temp at 10,400' at 11:30am = +5°C / 41°F.  

-Air temp at 10,900' at 12 noon on shady north facing slope = +0.5°C / 33°F. 

-- placeholder --

ESAC receives significant financial support from ...