2-9-2011 Downing Mountain

February 9, 2011 at 21:19 | Posted in Skiing at Downing Mountain Lodge | Leave a comment

Colin, Don and I skied up at Downing Mountain today and found superb powder skiing and a considerable/high avalanche hazard. We were able to propagate small localized slabs to one foot in depth on  numerous north facing aspects. Beware the sliding surface is fast and the snow keeps piling up out there. It snowed all day on us probably accumulating about 2 inches. With its light density it blew around easily in the 10-15 mph ridgetop wind. We skied a big 10,000 plus day and explored some new glade skiing in the Wolf Glades adjacent to Barley Lake Bowl. With nice lanes, rollovers and talus meadows the skiing was superlative. Familiar venue unfamiliar terrain. I have added a number of new videos to the YouTube site. It has been fun capturing skiing some big lines and treed glades this year. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/johnlehrman?feature=mhum#p/a

The snowpack is really filling in above 7000 feet where we are seeing anywhere up to a 7 foot base at Downing. Snotel at Twin Lakes is reporting over 100 inches now…that is 9 feet and basin wide the Bitterroot range is 110% average. Yea! This has buried deeply the rocks, stumps and bushes and made the travel quite nice. Below 7000 feet the snowpack drops off quickly due to the numerous and large and devastating rain events to about 2-3 feet around the lodge. The base is bomber under the fresh 6-8 inches and the skiing even at 5500 feet is doable because of this solid base. Dust on crust. We are still waiting for the low elevation storm to make canyon skiing less icy. Reports from Fred Burr and Big Creek mentioned bad ice and lots of rock showing. Patience may work and starting at mid elevation has been beneficial since the meltdown in mid January started with the five days of heavy rain. As we move into spring we should be doing better with the snow shower regime we experience usually producing snow and heavy at times. Maybe this weekends storm will stay as snow and seal the deal for the big peak to creeks. Stay tuned.

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