Lake Louise, Hamilton Lakes, Little Crowfoot
The ACMG TAP just finished the first module of the Apprentice Ski Guides exam in the Rockies. We were blessed with warmer temperatures, mostly light winds with moderate gusting at times from the Westerly quarter and generally clear skies.
Temperatures throughout the week ranged from cold mornings of -25.0 degrees to daytimes highs of -10.0. No significant precipitation over the last 3 days.
Our objectives were Surprise Pass in Lake Louise, Little Crowfoot on the 93N and the Hamilton Lake region in Yoho.
Cold temps from the Arctic air last week and overnight lows continued the trend of surface faceting.
There was variable wind effect on all aspects in the alpine and exposed tree line. We observed a size 1 WSL today (Feb 18) on a E aspect at 2600m on Mt Carnarvon, likely triggered from the solar input this afternoon.
There was evidence of an older loose dry cycle in both the Banff and Yoho regions. Snow profiles at treeline showed no significant results.
In larger terrain features where we traveled we still had concerns of cornice failure and smaller, lingering wind slabs.
We dug and found the Jan 27th layer in the Little Crowfoot area but found no significant shears at this interface.
We did find some very good ski quality on sheltered northeast aspects and decent but slightly more variable on solar aspects.
Our biggest concern is the forthcoming storm which will likely form slab over a snowpack that lost quite a bit of strength due to the 2 1/2 week long drought accompanied with very cold temperatures for a week.
These conditions promoted and strong temperature gradient that has induced advanced faceting of the upper snowpack. When this layer becomes buried over this weekend it will be an issue in the snowpack for some time due to the widespread distribution of this layer in most elevation bands. Some suncrust will likely be found on steep solar aspects as well.