Toured from the propane tanks to the perch today with the hopes of finding soft turns. the lower moraines are quite scoured. the majority of the surface snow is exposed ice. I believe this is from the beginning of the Christmas storm when there was a mix of rain and snow at lower elevations. Needless to say this made for less than ideal sliding conditions on our return to the car. Overall surface conditions were a mixed bag. A variety of crusts kept things interesting. Melt freeze crusts in areas with recent sun exposure were observed ~1-2″ thick in places and in more shaded but wind-exposed areas we found wind board from 1″ to12″ in depth. In more sheltered areas, tight trees we found surface facets are helping the snow remain soft and creamy. The tighter the trees the better the snow quality, open glades presented a more grabby, crusty sliding \experiance.
Ascending on the “nose” of Mirkwood we observed pretty significant sastrugi and very hard crusts. ski crampons were beneficial for the climb. The prevailing wind was definitely down valley, skiers left to right, and on the leeward side of this ridge-like feature, we found isolated areas of reactive wind deposits. Nothing of concerning size, more thin sheets breaking off underfoot. This type of activity could have been more concerning in more consequential terrain.
the winds maintained strong to extreme speeds today and kept things feeling quite chilly despite the warm temperatures. partly sunny skies turned to overcast this afternoon and scattered snow showers began around 4 pm.