The ACMG Training and Assessment Program just completed the fourth Ski Guide Certification Exam of the season, in the Sea to Sky region in Mystery Creek. Below is a conditions report for the week.

Summary of trips:

The entirety of the exam was spent in Mystery Creek just N of Whistler Blackcomb. The groups skied a variety of lines and aspects within the Mystery Creek and Gravell drainages.

Within the Mystery Creek drainage groups skied several variations on the Hibachi Glacier from the Hourglass west towards the Fish Ramp as well as several variations on the Mystery Glacier which includes Mystery Col west to the Otis Glacier.

Within the Gravell drainage groups skied the Middle Glacier, Samba and a couple other variations of the Habachi Ridge north glacier. Terrain skied and traveled included steep glaciers, chutes, treeline moraine features, and dense forest.

Wether Summary:

The week started out with sunny skies and warm temperatures with an ALP high of +5, however moderate Westerly and downflow winds kept snow surfaces cool.

April 15/16 presented mixed skies, cool temperatures (-9/-3) moderate gusting to strong winds from the SW switching to NW with a couple minor convective pulses of precipitation that accumulated to a mere 1cm. The rest of the week was dominated by a ridge of high pressure with clear skies, steady light to moderate N to SE winds and relatively low freezing levels from 1800m on the 17th climbing to 2100m by the 20th, with ALP highs of -3 to -1. On the afternoon of the 20th the winds switched to SW and we flew out just as a low pressure system arrived in the afternoon.

Snowpack Summary:

The surface of the snowpack for our week was characterized by crusts. Melt freeze crusts formed on all solar (East through West) facing slopes to mountain top. Due north aspects remained unaffected by sun but were affected by nearly constant light to moderate and sometimes strong winds from all directions.

The mid pack was generally well settled and strong showing 1 finger to pencil resistance. While probing, the Feb 1 rain crust was found present to approximately 2400 meters in elevation and varied in depth from 80 to 250 centimeters. We had no concerns with the base of the snowpack.

Generally we found coverage on glaciers to be adequate for reasonable travel with probed depths averaging 260 to 320+ centimeters of well settled snow. Some areas on glaciers were thinner with occasional proving as thin as 150 cm.

Snowpack coverage is generally thin (53% of normal for the south coast of BC). Overall we experienced a typical coastal spring snowpack with diurnal patterns dominating surface conditions.

Avalanche Summary/Ski Conditions:

The week started with very few avalanche problems on our radar. There were some recent wet loose activities as we flew in on the first day as the freezing level reached mountaintops. With cooler temperatures thereafter, no natural or human triggered avalanches were observed.
The ski quality was variable. Northerly aspects had settled dry snow and a variety of wind affected surfaces ranging from hard slab to scoured down to a crust. Great skiing could still be found on steep Northerly aspects sheltered from the wind.

All other aspects had a supportive crust which was very firm in the morning and melted in the afternoon to provide some great corn conditions at the right time of the day depending on the aspect and steepness. Steep solar aspects had 3-10 cm of moist snow by later afternoon.

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.