Calm and cloudy day with progressively more obscured conditions at higher elevations. Snowing lightly 1cm/hr during morning hours and calm even at 10000ft around 12pm. 16 degF @ 10000ft @ noon
We toured up from ~5500ft elevation up to 10,330ft on Mt. Tom today. It was an overcast day which got progressively more socked in with low cloud as the day progressed. For most of the 4hr tour it was lightly snowing, cloudy and cool. Light new snow-covered surfaces from the valley floor to our high point ranging from 3-6inches when we got back down by 130pm or so. It was still snowing when we departed and as I write this early evening it’s snowing lightly, and straight down in Bishop. Snow coverage was quite good and supportable and ranged from 1-2ft in the lower elevations to upwards of 4+feet at 10000ft on northerly to easterly aspects where sheltered. Visibility was limited today and we also wanted to stick to mellower terrain and let the Christmas storm cycle snow continue to settle. We descended on 30deg slopes on north through east aspects, without exposure from larger alpine slopes above. Throughout the tour today we did not observe any signs of instability and we were all amazed at how calm it was during this period. The older snow below the fresh surface layer was nice and supportable yet in the zone we skied was not a firm or harsh wind hammered surface, it consistently had a progressive hardness from 4Finger down to 1Finger and Pencil hardness at the base. I dug a snow pit (10,330ft NE aspect 31deg slope), and there was 20cm of faceted snow that was still loose, but also showed progressive signs of rounding at the base of the snowpack. Except for last night/today’s fresh snow the majority of the snowpack was right side up and shows good sign of settlement and consolidation. Could not get a good look at the surrounding mountains today with the obscured conditions to see what transpired with the big Christmas event in regards to an avalanche cycle. The cold temps and lack of wind provided blower powder surface conditions from top to bottom today, a real treat.
16.5degF @ 1200pm @ 103300ft, 30mph calm to light sw wind
Snow pit @ 10,330ft, NE Aspect, 31deg slope
CT22 Q3 @ 18cm