We toured from Hwy 395 up into a NE facing low angle drainage over Mono Lake. New snow amounts near the highway were about 30 cm and steadily became deeper as we gained elevation. At 8400 ft. I was breaking trail in new snow up to my knees. I saw a lot of wind effect on the snow surface even below tree line. In places that were more exposed to the winds the snow felt really thick and had a soft wind lid on it. Those were the places where I saw soft slab formation over the November DH and the old snow that had been rained on for two days. I was unable to get any results from kick tests and never got more than an isolated crack propagation around my skis. Any slight depression held soft unconsolidated snow. We heard many whumpfs and felt noticeable collapses with isolated cracking around the ski track on low angle terrain BTL where the November DH was present. As the slope angle increased to the upper 20’s we didn’t hear anymore whumpfs and didn’t see any cracking or collapsing. Digging down I saw that there was only a very shallow ( 10 cm ) pre-storm snow layer present with 45 to 60 cm of new snow.
We did’t see any natural avalanche activity from during or after the storm where we toured.
The ski quality was a bit challenging in this thick snow on relatively low slope angles but the views were unbeatable.