12-17-2010 First ski day at Downing Mountain

December 17, 2010 at 20:11 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jenny, Don, Brian, Amy a I ventured up to Downing Mountain for the first day of skiing above the Downing Mountain Lodge. We found excellent coverage and skiing quality above 6500′. Below this elevation there was a dust on crust anywhere from three inches of fresh to about 6 inches at 6500′ What an amazing day.

Don and I dug a pit and found the surface hoar layer laid down two weekends ago to be buried about two feet deep. It was well preserved and will be a weak layer to watch this winter season. Steve Karkanen at the avalanche center  further described this layer recently in the west central Montana Avalanche forecast. We experienced no obvious signs of instability but with this ugly looking weakness buried within a meter of the surface the consequences of taking a ride with a two foot deep slab was enough to keep us conservative in our terrain choices. With more snow on the way it looks like the ski season is off to a great start. Hopefully the winter hose will continue and hit us heavily again soon. The rain this week reduced the sledding opportunities  and snowpack depth below 6000′. With the solid base in now, let it snow…

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