Poked my nose into some steeper, protected terrain today to get an idea of surface conditions. While skinning up Punta Bardini, I encountered a range of surface textures, including thin sun crusts and breakable wind crusts down low, to dust on supportable crust mid-slope, to windboard and sastrugi near ridgeline.
I dug a couple hand shear pits at the top of the main chute (~9,800') in ~45 degree terrain and had repeatable results of resistant planar breaks ~15 cm down. Ski cuts did not trigger anything except dry loose sluff and small (5-10 cm), thin (1-2 cm) plates. Once in the main gut of the chute, surface conditions were a mix of creamy windbuff and edgeable windboard. The skiing was excellent.