Quartz Ridge, Sunshine Slackcountry, Banff / Assiniboine Parks
Skied from Strawberry chair to Quartz Ridge area today. Ski quality was every manner of wind affected snow you could think of once above tree line and in the open; boilerplate, sastrugi, wind pressed, wind ripples and a few more descriptive words I can’t use. Had to get into the alpine to soak in the views. Best skiing is still in sheltered areas tree line and below. Oddly enough skiing on the boilerplate was totally ok if you paid attention to where you made your turns. Light winds and cool but pleasant temps all day. Didn’t ski any south aspects so saw no sun affect. Didn’t challenge any steep wind-loaded features in the alpine.
Highlight of the day was the debris field from a recent cornice collapse on an east facing feature that has a decent cornice every year. As I rounded the corner I thought the cornice triggered slab likely resulted in a size 3 avalanche. Upon crossing the debris, the numerous vehicle sized chunks made me upgrade my assessment to the destructive power of a size 3.5! Fracture line was still crisp and almost no new snow on the debris, so this was likely triggered by wind in the last few days.
Sorry for the hopeless attempt at alliteration in the title…