Twin Cairns, Sunshine, Banff Park
Skied the backside (NW aspect) of Twin Cairns today in 25cm of low density fluffy powder. The E side facing the ski hill is more wind affected and not quite as inviting despite a couple of folks skiing an aggressive line on the east face.
We did a couple of compression tests on a west aspect and had easy and moderate shears down 20 and 25cm in the soft storm snow. We did not get any consistent planar results deeper in the snowpack but managed to find some rounded surface hoar about 110cm down that didn’t react in our tests.
On many steeper slopes facing the sun we could feel the sun crust from recent days hiding below the storm snow. We could get easy hand shears in many places where the storm snow had not bonded well to the crust. The saving grace was that the storm snow had not yet formed a slab in the areas we skied. I’d be more wary near ridge crests where the wind may have affected things.
By 2pm, when the sun peaked out, the surface snow was becoming moist on flat slopes and terrain facing the sun even though the air temperature was minus 1. Solar radiation and moderate temperatures will lead to the snow settling fairly quickly.