Divide Creek, Banff National Park
Skiied Divide Creek yesterday with a couple friends. We were pleasantly surprised by mostly clear weather rather than the forecasted 5-10 cm of snow.
Conditions were quite good with 15-25 cm of low density snow sitting on top of last weeks hard surfaces (windslab and suncrusts). We didn't encounter any wind effect right to ridgetop and winds yesterday were calm. We saw some minor loose dry sluffing out of steep terrain, but otherwise no new avalanches and had no reactivity in the terrain we were skiing.
A couple interesting observations on the tour:
1) There is a new avalanche path that runs down to the creek just before you leave treeline. It looks like this was created either earlier this winter or last spring and has logged some mature timber.
2) The moraines and alpine terrain had quite a variable snowpack that was thinner than average for the times I've been up there. Lots of rocks buried by the low density storm snow and you really had to choose your line carefully to avoid them. The glacier was very thin in spots with as little as 30 cm on the ice - I'm guessing it slid to the ice earlier this winter. There are some thinly bridged crevasses (see photo) that are often covered better that I wouldn't want to ski near right now. Conversely, the coverage below treeline was excellent - as good or better as I've seen before in there.
3) Cornices were much smaller or non-existent than I've seen in that area in years past.
Great day to be up high in the Louise group!
ACMG Mountain Guide