Williams Lake Tour

Location Name: 
Williams Lake Drainage
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 12/28/2019 - 11:00

Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

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

Went for a tour around the Williams Lake drainage. The overnight storm brought 5-8" of new snow to the area. Moderate, low density, snowfall continued throughout the day. Calm winds allowed this snow to fall uninterrupted. Loose snow sluffs were widespread near and above treeline, releasing on steeper slopes underneath and within rock bands. With continued snowfall these sluffs began showing signs of acting like slabs. Within this new snow, shooting cracks initiated under the weight of a person.

We observed a varying, complex snowpack structure. Just because you dig down in one area does not mean the structure will correlate on similar slopes. Small grained facet layers are scattered throughout the pack. In some places these make up the old snow-new snow interface from christmas, which was failing under light to moderate force. The deeper snowpack consists of layers of crusts, graupel, and small grained facets. The graupel layer which has caused so much concern continues to fail under moderate force. In some places these deep small grained facets are showing signs of healing. We had reports of slides stepping down into deeper layers. Again, our snowpack is incredibly variable. 

Photo 1: Sluffs beginning to fracture like slabs. 

Photo 2: Point release of the new snow.

Photo 3: Widespread natural sluffs. 

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Greater than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Low visibility. Cold temperatures in the low teens. Calm winds. Snow fell at about 2 inches an hour. Ski penetration 5+ inches.