When the forecast calls for gusts to 75mph, maybe listen. Despite the dire predictions, we went up into Laurel Canyon today to ski Bloody Couloir.
Road conditions are terrible, it has been a while since skiing up Laurel without snow lower down, and the monsoons have wrecked the road, without real-deal 4×4 driving plan on 3.2-3.7 miles from parking (depending on your vehicle) til hitting snow, which is currently at 9500′ on the road to Laurel Lakes.
Surprisingly no new snow from either 04/11 or 04/16 until around 11,000′. Surface conditions below are all melt-freeze crust. Blown in storm snow above 11,000 ranged from 10cm to 40cm, increasing in depth as well as stiffness the high we climbed. Booting was easy in the 4F+ snow, though started feeling slabbier towards the top. We skied down from right below the choke at 12,100′ as we had already closed ridgeline start zones, and felt this was a prudent decision based on the snow conditions.
Skiing down we found that the best skiing was lower where less accumulation and wind affect was present. While conditions in the shelter or the couloir were actually quite pleasant with almost calm winds, after reaching the apron we were subjected to the full brunt of the extreme SW winds, easily strong enough to knock me down flat multiple times…