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Author Topic: April 21, 2010, Crystal Mtn, A FOOT OF NEW POWDER?  (Read 2677 times)
Amar Andalkar
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April 21, 2010, Crystal Mtn, A FOOT OF NEW POWDER?
« on: 04/21/10, 09:44 PM »

Well, sometimes the high-res UW WRF-GFS weather model is just amazingly accurate. Even eerily so. The April 20 model runs were predicting a freakish localized snowstorm, with 1 ft of new snow overnight near Crystal Mtn and near Snoqualmie Pass, with minimal amounts elsewhere, even at Rainier and Baker. Truly bizarre, but I went to bed after viewing the evening model run around 11pm, convinced that Crystal was likely to get a foot of new snow by morning.

And that's just what happened (!!!), as verified by telemetry data below: about 6" new snow at the Crystal base, 11"+ in Green Valley, and 1.2-1.4" of precip at Snoqualmie and Alpental (so probably a foot of new there above 5K). Meanwhile the official NWS forecast missed the snowstorm entirely, sticking with its broad WA Cascades forecast of "Showers likely. Snow level 6000 feet. Snow accumulation up to 1 inch" for the overnight hours . . . totally wrong both on amounts and snow level.

After trying unsuccessfully to find a ski partner on short notice at 8am, I headed off to Crystal solo, with high expectations for powder based on the telemetry. And especially after seeing that it had snowed down to 3000 ft on CM Blvd.  About 4-6" new of Cascade concrete at the parking lot, still snowing lightly and blowing when I got there at noon. Broke trail to the top of Chinook in snow and fog and occasional whiteout, then followed a fresh snowcat track to the summit to avoid breaking any more trail. Some partial clearing and filtered sun at times. The snow remained dense all the way up, but became EXTREMELY windblown above 6000 ft. As in, 0" new on most northerly aspects, just a bare frozen crust. And 8-12" new wherever the wind had deposited it, dense and not powdery at all.

Despite telemetry showing that winds at the summit had peaked at 33 mph overnight, it looked more like the work of 60-80 mph winds to me. Maybe they turned off the heat to the anemometer and it's partially rimed, so that it's reading low? From noon to 4pm, telemetry is showing 11-12 mph max wind, but I can verify that the wind was more like 20-30 mph at the summit during that entire time.

Skied mediocre inconsistent windpacked snow into Green Valley, then decided to escape out via Iceberg Gulch, taking the left (wind-loaded) side to avoid crust. Top of Iceberg was all bare frozen crust, the rest was not too bad, but not great. Ran into a couple of TAYers coming up my skin track at 5400 ft, and decided to skin back up with them, after warning them about the poor snow. Bad decision. Second run was in whiteout above 6K, and the snow was even worse, with a breakable crust now atop the dense non-powder. Cautious skiing necessary for sure.

Anyway, it was still fun (barely) and nice to get some exercise in a foot of freshies, despite its poor quality.






4-21-2010                                                                                 4-21-2010
Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center                                                    Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center
Crystal Mountain Ski Area, Washington                                                     Green Valley, Crystal Mountain Ski Area

24 hr snow sensor removed                                                                 24 hr snow depth removed for the season

 MM/DD  Hour  Temp  Temp    RH    RH  Wind  Wind  Wind  Wind  Hour Total 24 Hr Total       MM/DD  Hour  Temp 24 Hr Total
         PST     F     F     %     %   Min   Avg   Max   Dir Prec. Prec.  Snow  Sno                PST     F  Snow  Snow
             6870' 4480' 6870' 4480' 6870' 6870' 6870' 6870' 4480' 4480' 4480' 4480'                   6300' 6300' 6300'
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      ------------------------------
  4 20  1600    32    39   100    99     8    13    18   301     0     0    89    78        4 20  1600  -219    67   111
  4 20  1700    32    38   100   100    11    15    22   316   .01   .01    90    78        4 20  1700  -219    67   112
  4 20  1800    31    38   100   100    12    19    27   283   .01   .02    89    78        4 20  1800  -219    68   112
  4 20  1900    31    37   100   100    16    20    27   283   .01   .03    89    78        4 20  1900    29    69   112
  4 20  2000    31    37   100   100    17    25    33   244   .03   .06    89    78        4 20  2000    29    69   111
  4 20  2100    30    37   100   100    14    21    29   244   .04   .04    89    78        4 20  2100    29    70   111
  4 20  2200    29    35   100   100    15    22    28   244   .16    .2    88    78        4 20  2200  -222    70   113
  4 20  2300    28    34   100   100    14    21    27   244   .12   .32    88    78        4 20  2300  -224    70   114
  4 21     0    29    33   100   100    16    20    24   244   .04   .36    88    78        4 21     0    27    71   115
  4 21   100    28    33   100   100    14    19    24   244   .15   .51    88   239        4 21   100  -228    71   116
  4 21   200    28    33   100   100    14    19    23   244   .16   .67    88   239        4 21   200  -233    71   119
  4 21   300    27    33   100   100    16    18    21   244   .16   .83    88    82        4 21   300    25    71   121
  4 21   400    25    32   100   100    16    18    21   244   .05   .88    89    83        4 21   400    24    71   121
  4 21   500    25    32   100   100    12    17    20   244   .08   .96    89    82        4 21   500  -237    72   122
  4 21   600    25    32   100   100    13    16    19   244   .04     1    91    82        4 21   600  -235    72   121
  4 21   700    25    32   100   100    13    15    18   244   .03  1.03    90    84        4 21   700    23    72   120
  4 21   800    26    33   100    98    11    13    17   244   .02  1.05    90    82        4 21   800  -234    72   120
  4 21   900    26    33   100    97    11    13    14   244   .01  1.06    90    82        4 21   900  -234    72   120
  4 21  1000    26    33   100    96     8    11    14   244   .01  1.07    90    82        4 21  1000  -233    72   119
  4 21  1100    27    35   100    92     8    10    13   244     0  1.07    91   239        4 21  1100  -232    72   118
  4 21  1200    29    35   100    91     4     8    11   283     0  1.07    91   239        4 21  1200  -231    71   118
  4 21  1300    25    35   100    93     6     9    11   285     0  1.07    90    81        4 21  1300    29    70   119
  4 21  1400    28    36   100    93     8    10    12   244     0  1.07    90    80        4 21  1400  -231    69   118
  4 21  1500    26    34   100    96     6     9    11   284     0  1.07    88    82        4 21  1500  -232    69   119
  4 21  1600    26    34   100    97     5     8    11   284     0  1.07    88    82        4 21  1600    25    69   119
  4 21  1700    25    34   100    97     7     9    13   284     0  1.07    88    82        4 21  1700    25    69   119


« Last Edit: 04/22/10, 09:42 AM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

NMaddox
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Re: April 21, 2010, Crystal Mtn, A FOOT OF NEW POWDER?
« Reply #1 on: 04/22/10, 09:55 AM »

Amar,
I completely agree with your analysis of the snow consistancy yesterday.  I headed to Alpy after work for a short workout and found mush (and no new snow) in the parking lot, but 8-12" around the corner in Upper International, but just on very localized aspects (better on NE side of the moguls).  You could get one good turn, then 2 turns on rock hard muce (muchy ice?), then another cascade cement pow turn. 

Very dense snow, but any snow in late April should be celebrated.  Cheers to getting out there.
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"All humans realize they are loved when witnessing the dawn... Absolved by light we decide to go on." -Rufus Wainwright
all mtn
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Posts: 462


Re: April 21, 2010, Crystal Mtn, A FOOT OF NEW POWDER?
« Reply #2 on: 04/22/10, 04:58 PM »

thats pretty incredible. and who says the weatherman is always wrong. here in the Sierra, I hear the stories of the "over-night pow" in Utah. typically - March
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