Sun, Feb 16, 2020 - 12:00 PM
Broken Top Area
Ski or Snowboard
Few (1/8 - 2/8)
I toured on SE, E and NE aspects on Ball Butte (sparse trees, open alpine slopes). The entire area was heavily wind affected.
The wind was light in the morning, and moderate by mid day with some strong gusts; primarily out of the west but was variable and shifting out of the north and east. Blowing snow was constant throughout the day.
Windslabs were present on easterly aspects, but were not reactive to ski cuts and were very stubborn. They were seemingly impossible to trigger.
I dug into the snow and found weak sugary faceted snow down about 45 cm below the surface. This was beneath the upper most crust. This layer failed during snowpack testing (CTH SC) but did not propagate in the extended column test. The weak faceted snow is something we will need to monitor and watch to see if it heals, or remains weak. At the present time, I do not expect avalanches to occur on this layer but that could change with more loading if this layer sticks around.
While skiing through the terrain,I could not get any snow to move and I found no signs of unstable snow; no cracking, or collapsing. There were no signs of recent avalanches.
There was not a patch of snow that had not been affected by wind. Although wind affected, the SE and S aspects seemed to have the best ski quality.