On Saturday March 12th, we traveled out to the ridge behind Lake Mary to explore snow conditions. We left the trailhead at 10:15am, and while the air temp was above freezing, the warmth was limited by the wind. At 11am we were getting ready to cross Lake Mary, and at 9000' we had an air temp of 38 F, clear skies, and moderate winds with strong gusts. At 12pm we got to the top of the first ridge behind the lake at 9300', and it was 39 F, still clear skies and moderate winds with strong gusts. At 1pm we reached 9600' and had an air temp of 36 F, with moderate wind but mellower gusts.
On the way up, shaded snow was cold and dry, while sunny patches in between the trees were already crusty or mashed potato-y. This variability created some interesting travel conditions on the skin track and gloppy skins. We first skied down a N/NE treed slope that had 6-8in soft new snow, but already warming and crusty in sunny spots. We transitioned and went up again and then skied the final slope down to the lake that was even more protected from the sun, and this had the softest and least variable snow of the day. It seems like protected N/NE facing trees were the move for soft snow today. The wind that we felt in open and exposed areas didn't seem to impact snow below treeline.