Williams Lake Area

Location Name: 
No Name
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 12/21/2017 - 11:30
Location Map: 
United States
36° 32' 38.184" N, 105° 25' 58.764" W

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Snow exists near treeline and above, on shady aspects and terrain features, though there’s still no snow on the southern half of the compass.  Places with the deepest snow are high, shady, windloaded slopes that bear a layer cake structure in which relatively hard and relatively soft layers are stacked one after the other.  See Photo.  The snowpack may seem hectic in areas such as this, but the overarching message is the same as it ever was: just above the ground is a very weak and uncohesive layer in the snowpack on NE through NW aspects near and above treeline, and the strength of it will be tested by every winter storm and skier for quite a while.  

That being said, there are some other noteworthy features from our look into the snow today.  The most cohesive layer that we found is an old wind slab (6cm-30cm down from the surface of the snow) with facets on either side, that yielded results in stability tests.  It will be worth keeping in mind the distribution of pocketed wind slabs such as this as our snowpack builds.  Often avalanches that begin somewhat superficially in the snowpack can step down to lower weak layers like the ones discussed in the paragraph above.  These wind affected places are also sporting a somewhat slick surface that could serve as a poor interface with new snow, should we get some.  In places protected by the affects of wind, where wind slab never developed, there is generally a much shallower snowpack and it is made more or less completely of facets.  

Picture 1- 86cm layer cake snowpack structure on a high, shady, windloaded slope.  

Picture 2- Shallow snowpack with facets to the ground ~11,000' in the shade 

Picture 3- N facing cross-loaded gullies continue to hold snow

Picture 4- West face of Wheeler demonstrates the current, very limited snow distribution

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: