Coast Range - Sea To Sky zone
Spent the day wandering about the Callaghan zone.
Rain/snow line was 1100m at the beginning and end of the day, with significant tree drip to that elevation. Travel is decent on summer trails only up until 1200m at which point the snowpack reaches a depth of 130cms. At 1000m the depth is only 40-50cms. I stopped to get snowpack observations on a sheltered NW facing slope at 1600m. Depth was 225-240cms. The storm snow seemed to be about 120-140cms from the last 4 days which would make sense as the Squamish weather station has reported 120mm of water in the same period. The early season crust/facet layer was down about 140cms/or 80-90cms above the ground at this elevation. A deep tap test was performed to investigate the weak layer, and it resulted in a Moderate resistant planar shear on facets above the crust. Of note was the total lack of settlement of the storm snow, meaning a lack of slab in this calm location. Above 1600m more wind effect was observed but weather obscured any further observations. No whoompfing, cracking, or avalanche activity was observed. Temperatures hovered around the freezing level all day.
In these more coastal areas, it seems like we are approaching or are above avalanche threshold amounts starting at about 1400m. Undergrowth/Alder is quite prevalent below this elevation as the 1-1.4 m deep snowpack is not quite enough to cover many features, but it will be there very soon or is there in open and planar locations. Many early season hazards like creeks and stumps are littering the hillsides below 1400m so caution is advised. Trailbreaking was of course herculean and best done in big teams and for short shifts. Giving the storm a day or two to settle out will help travel conditions, but will also likely cause some significant slab development over these early season weak layers in the sheltered locations that were not wind affected.
Its a tricky time, so expert travel techniques are recommended and tons of investigation as obs are still limited and many areas have not seen much travel - meaning you might not know what's under your feet. Plenty of fun to be had in mellow spots so play it safe, but don't expect much down hill velocity on mellow slopes right now!
Hope this helps, please stay safe and conservative for the next while.
MG, Squamish, BC