Skied Elderberry Canyon on Mt. Tom yesterday (2/17). It was a very long day, with the expected variety of snow conditions, and a few observations worth noting.
-Almost no evidence of any snow accumulation from the minor storm on Monday night. An inch or so of new snow near the summit elevations, but no soft snow anywhere in the canyon or on the headwall. Similarly, very little evidence of wind deposition.
-Very little cornice buildup over any of the gullies of the Elderberry Canyon Headwall or the East Gully headwall. Coverage in both of these headwalls was decent, and each had multiple lines that went through.
-The southeastern facing wall of the canyon did have moist snow forming in the early afternoon, but as noted in many other locations, this was very textured, and had huge penitentes all over it.
-No rockfall noted at all, but very little direct sun on the headwall gullies despite their east aspect. Temperatures were very mild, and winds very very light. In a few sections where we were sidehilling on the southfacing side of the canyon, it felt like a reflector oven, and we did get some sunburns despite abundant sunscreen application.
-As expected the north ridge of Mt. Tom is wind stripped and entirely bare, as are the northwest facing gullies dropping back to Pine Creek or the Gables Lakes drainage. Some snow in the gut of the major paths, but very bare overall.
-The road was dry to the base of the canyon proper. We took the use trail up the north slope to where the canyon pinches down before we got on snow, but a tongue of snow did extend down the south wall of the canyon, almost to the road. We hit continuous snow around 6800'.