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12/13/18, 07:47 PM

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NWAC Avalanche
 1   Hot Air / Lift-accessed Skiing Reports: non-backcountry / December 13, 2018 Big Sky, MT  on: Today at 07:24:26 PM 
Started by Zap | Last post by Zap
We spent the night near Big Sky and it was 9 degrees outside.  Nice to have the propane furnace in the camper van. The resort had 13 lifts operating with 100 trails open, BUT we stayed on the groomers.  Being early season you can see all the rocky terrain. We parked at the Madison Base which used to be the Moonlight Basin Base before Big Sky purchased them. By the time we left there were maybe only 30 vehicles in the parking lot. The tourist groups was at the Mountain Village base on the Big Sky side of the area. We used our Mountain Collective Passes here.

On Saturday the Mountain Village area will open the new Ramcharger 8-seat high speed lift and then Thunder Wolf 4-seat high speed lift. The Lone Peak tram was operating, but the report was of icy conditions from the high winds last night. Jill and I skied from the Six Shooter 6-seat high speed, Lone Tree 4, and Iron Horse 4 lift. There were great long trails with groomers and edge powder from yesterdays 4” storm. We had the trails mostly to ourselves.

Since our visit last spring we are amazed with the all of the new construction. New homes, condos, and mansions along all the roads. The trail map said “The Biggest Skiing in America”. The trail map is made with a texture that feels almost waterproof. It was VERY cold with soft packed powder.

 2   Hot Air / Lift-accessed Skiing Reports: non-backcountry / Re: Crystal - 12/13  on: Today at 07:20:14 PM 
Started by CD | Last post by gregL
I think it's rigatoni. Had it again today, but I hope they keep the udon and rice bowls at CB . . .

 3   Hot Air / Lift-accessed Skiing Reports: non-backcountry / 12/13/18 Whistler 20” new!  on: Today at 07:02:42 PM 
Started by avajane | Last post by avajane
But the top didn’t open...Still soft snow all over,
and knee deep all morning. Still snowing....Tay member showed up to ski today. Another tomorrow, and another Saturday...but he’ll need to give the report!

Tomorrow will be great! Fantastic if the top opens...

 4   Hot Air / Random Tracks: posts that don't fit elsewhere / Re: Baker Overnight Parking Fee  on: Today at 06:29:35 PM 
Started by pipedream | Last post by Markeyz
Taking a page from the Crystal B lot playbook, sounds like.

 5   Hot Air / Random Tracks: posts that don't fit elsewhere / Baker snowdepth up from 20% to 100% 09-13Dec2018!  on: Today at 05:59:27 PM 
Started by Amar Andalkar | Last post by Amar Andalkar
Snowdepth at Mount Baker Ski Area reaches 100% of normal on 13Dec2018, was 20% of normal only 4 days ago!!

Following 25" of new snow since noon yesterday, the snowdepth at the 4200 ft Mount Baker Ski Area site hit 67" just after noon today Thursday, December 13. This is over 100% of normal depth for this date, as the December 15 normal is 67" at this site according to the NWAC Climatological Snowdepth data. Before the current storm cycle began on December 9, the snowdepth was only 13" at this site, only 20% of normal for that date! Just a very remarkable change in snowpack in such a short period, even for one of the snowiest measurement sites in the entire world. Total snowfall at Baker Ski Area over the 4-day period has been over 5 ft, with precip of over 7".

Unfortunately the new snowfall severely impacted operations at the ski area, which opened for the season only the day before on December 12, but was unable to open anything December 13 until noon, and even then only 2 lifts. From their website at noon, "Mt. Baker got absolutely hammered with an extreme amount of new snow and stormy, windy conditions last night.  As we got out on the mountain this morning to prepare for opening we discovered that in some places the new snow drifted as deep as 4-5 feet.  The avalanche danger is extreme and we are still doing avalanche control work.  Chairs 5 & 7 are open, but the rest of the mountain will remain closed today as we continue to do avalanche control work." NWAC also posted their first Avalanche Warning of the season this morning, updating the Northwest Cascades zone which includes Mount Baker at 9:30am to "High" avalanche danger at all elevations.

Other sites in the WA Cascades have also gotten heavy snowfall as forecast over these 4 days, although nothing close to Baker's amounts. The snowdepth at 5400 ft Paradise on Mount Rainier reached 59" this morning after 15" new (before settling a few inches after that), which is almost 90% of normal for this date (December 15 normal is 68" per NWAC). On December 9, the snowdepth was only 22" at this site, about 35% of normal for that date. Total snowfall at Paradise over the 4-day period has been almost 4 ft, with precip of over 5".

At Stevens Pass, snowdepth at the 3950 ft measurement site reached 41" this morning after 11" new, almost 100% of normal for this date (December 15 normal is 43" per NWAC). On December 9, the snowdepth was only 16" at this site, about 40% of normal for that date. At their higher 4800 ft Brooks site, snowdepth increased from 24" to 58", although no normal values are available to calculate percentages. Total snowfall at Stevens Pass over the 4-day period has been about 3 ft, with precip of over 3", while the higher Brooks site got almost 4 ft with precip of over 4".

Even Snoqualmie Pass has made a major improvement in snowdepth the last 4 days, despite quite a bit of rain at times. The snowdepth at the 3000 ft measurement site reached 31" this morning after 8" new, almost 90% of normal for this date (December 15 normal is 36" per NWAC). Previously there was only 8" snowdepth on December 9, about 25% of normal for that date. Total snowfall at Snoqualmie Pass over the 4-day period has been about 2.5 ft, with precip of about 7", reflecting the large admixture of rain between periods of snowfall.

But the single greatest 24-hour snowfall during these storms wasn't actually at any of these high-snowfall locations. It was at 1930 ft Lake Wenatchee, which got 26" of new snow in less than 24 hours on December 11! This increased their snowdepth from a mere 2" to 25", before a changeover to rain at midnight followed by significant settlement.

The forecast calls for continued storminess and snowfall over the next several days in the WA Cascades. This means that many more measurement sites should be close to or even over 100% of normal snowdepth by early next week.

Here is the NWAC telemetry from Baker Ski Area and Rainier Paradise / Camp Muir covering the 4 day period from December 9-13:

 6   2018 Backcountry Trip Reports / December 2018 Backcountry Trip Reports / December 12, 2018, Alpental  on: Today at 05:46:50 PM 
Started by Markeyz | Last post by Markeyz
I toured up to the gun tower and did a couple of laps on the bottom half of chair 2.  About 4" on top of a 1/2" crust on top of about a foot of new on the old snow.  When I got back to my car there was a KOMO 4 news team doing a bit on the new snow and avalanche danger so I agreed to be interviewed for the segment since I was glad to see them spreading the word and raising awareness.  Found the bit here:
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 7   Hot Air / Random Tracks: posts that don't fit elsewhere / Re: Baker lifts weren't turning but lodge was open  on: Today at 05:20:15 PM 
Started by Jason4 | Last post by RonL
Pretty fun day of heavy chewy turns, cheers for opening what they did!  Big crowns on the half pipe. Fun crowd of fellow storm chasers to commiserate with.

 8   Hot Air / Random Tracks: posts that don't fit elsewhere / Baker Overnight Parking Fee  on: Today at 04:03:14 PM 
Started by pipedream | Last post by pipedream
In case you missed it, Mt. Baker has quietly started charging $10/night to park your RV/camper/van overnight. This is not surprising, and despite any sort of hook-ups/amenities, 100% legal & enforceable at the lower, White Salmon base area as they own the land that lot is on. However, I wonder how they're able to pull it off at Heather Meadows. Do they require you to park your vehicle on resort property? My understanding is that they cannot charge for parking, day or overnight, in the big lot adjacent to Mt. Herman because that is forest service land (albeit leased & cleared by the ski area).

What if I want to park my vehicle overnight in the main HM lot and go camp at Artist Point overnight? Am I going to be charged $10/night for every night I stay out there? How will they enforce it if nobody's around to pay? It's a ridiculous policy and I personally believe if we let them get away with it now, it'll only be a slippery slope to charging non-resort visitors for day access, too.

 9   Hot Air / Lift-accessed Skiing Reports: non-backcountry / Re: Crystal - 12/13  on: Today at 03:36:41 PM 
Started by CD | Last post by ddk
And more words about today (thought I'd get a post before CD based on what I knew about his schedule...but...)   -   Yee Haa…Definitely most funnest day of the season, big screaming winds, REX slow(but running), mostly sunny, light mostly hardcore crowd, big views of the mountains down south blowing smoke snow streamers, nice grooming on FQex - well Downhill and good enough on Rolling Knolls (only groomers I really did), Grubstake awesome fun! (especially two cycles with CD late morning), rocks in places, lots of happy bumps! Ouch! I love bumps! SortElk skied nice. Lots of happy employees, lots of happy snow sliders (even saw a couple of ultra high tech snow bikes)… fun, fun, fun…glad I drug myself out of bed this morning!

Other - Easy fast drive up and down, typically to big Pay lot, rest of A was full with overflow towards C and looked like folks parked in B lot.  CB lodge will be open tomorrow, lots of folks working hard in there today getting ready - new food items, new head cook, lots of regular worker bees.  Soup at the base was the Meataball pasta! Had a bowl on the sun deck (in the sun) and it was tasty with lots of meataballs and lots of pasta tube noodles (what do they call that type?). The Fireside cafe has a lot more soup selections that sounded good.

So bottom line - Big Fun Day, no marketing department required. Thanks to the hardworking ski patrol! Been doing a great job opening up the Crystal world!

 10   Hot Air / Lift-accessed Skiing Reports: non-backcountry / Crystal - 12/13  on: Today at 03:31:30 PM 
Started by CD | Last post by CD
The weather was better today than yesterday (who knew we'd be in a beautiful blue doughnut hole all day?), the crowds lighter due to more open terrain, and the snow was good although not quite as good as yesterday.  All in all, another 3 out of 3 day.

Crystal used all their grooming effort over night on FQ leaving REX and GV largely untouched.  The 5 inches of new snow did a nice job of filling in yesterday's tracks, but it was wind impacted in some areas.  But, not so much in other areas.  Runs of the day were GV Bowl right off the top of REX (the further to the right you went, the more wind impact), Snorting Elk, Grubstake (no rocks taking the lower traverse), the top half of Lucky Shot, and Rolling Knoll.  LS could have used a groom last night because the second face was starting to show some rocks in the troughs on the backside of the forming moguls.  Not sure they would have been there with a good compact and smoothing.

Had to leave early due to some other commitments and only saw a couple cars on the drive down.  Very nice.

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