Toured out into the June Mountain backcountry this morning, content to ski sheltered terrain with the strong SW winds that were actively transporting and loading lee slopes from our vantage point on top of J7.
Slopes with enough tree cover are still holding quality, soft snow, though venturing out into more wind exposed openings result in a lot of surface variability from wind crust to developing slabs. Settlement over the past 48 hrs is evident by the numerous cracked settlement cones around trees (see photo)
Even while skinning up a very sheltered N aspect in the Hemlocks we could feel a noticeable difference in developing surface slabs from one side of the panel to the other, opting for a steeper skin track to avoid the hazard. Hand shears were failing on isolation or easily, identifying a 10cm thick 4f hard surface slab.
Upslope winds have stripped many sheltered terrain features, Fern Grotto was nearly devoid of any soft skiing, having been stripped down to the old surface making for more wind-board like skiing.
Steep N facing tree runs are still skiing well, and we encountered no signs of instability below treeline. Certainly a tale of two distinct snowpack zones, with near and above treeline seeming ripe for human triggered and natural windslab avalanches while below treeline the storm snow is well-bonded. At least, for the next 24hrs til the next dump comes in!