Vent Shaft Glade - Rogers Pass
I was out skiing in Rogers pass during the recent cold snap(Monday, Wednesday), one day on Grizzly area and one in the Avalanche Crest/Vent shaft area. Staying in the sun was the priority and we didn't bother venturing above treeline where there was greater wind effect from the recent Arctic out break.
Within this elevation band there was lots of good skiing and not surprisingly lots of tracks as well. Though we managed to avoid the crowds while touring the parking lots were busy even though it is post holiday season. Avalanche Crest has seen a lot of traffic with Avalanche Crest #3 & 4 being heavily skied and some people pushing all the way to Avalanche crest #1. No one had skied the Vent shaft glade however and we found an exit line that avoided the main exit gullies (which looked like something from a ski hill!).
Of note the snow surface was quite varied and will likely make it tricky to anticipate the problem areas once we receive significant snowfall. I observed a fair bit of surface hoar below 1900m. but most of it was smaller than 5mm and a lot of it was spiky looking in appearance(typical of cold temps. and low humidity).
Other than that it was either 30cms of loose unconsolidated powder (facets) or windslab, which tended to be in isolated lenses but fairly stiff. All this will now be covered with a skiff of new snow, making it a lot trickier while skiing to anticipate those dramatic changes from powder to windslab ;-)
When uptracking over snow mushrooms, you would get a shear down 40-50cms at the storm snow interface but we had no cracking or shearing while skiing. This observation did lead us to avoid larger tensioned (convex) features, especially if it had been stiffened by the wind. We did not observe any avalanche activity during out days out, but I did note some in South facing terrain that must have occurred on the day between trips (Tuesday).
Best of the New Year to everyone,