Howling ridge top winds today had me thinking of severe wind slabs.  Anything North facing and open had to be severely crossloaded in the upper areas due to the  north westerly winds gusting at times over 40 mph.  Temperatures were warmer by ten degrees from the previous day.  Headed out into the whiteout to the Top of the World where no one one was. Grey, windy and spooky, it was a throwback day in EV.

Continued the Tweeners excursions as visibility was almost nothing and it offered the sneak through the wind loaded upper areas.  Traversing across the ridge to Tweeners, the hollow drummy sound of hard wind slab let me know that Benchie and Old Mans open areas were not to be trifled with today.

Spent some time trundling person sized chunks of wind slab at the top of the skier’s right side of Benchie. No cornice on the roll, so I could do this.  Watched as the wind slab chunks hit the incline and snow density change in the middle of the bowl, looking for propagation into the middle areas and over the cliffs into the flats.  It can be an indicator of what is going on after the upper firm scarp areas in both Benchmark and Old man’s, where the snow softens and the angle eases.  No reaction to the hard slab chunks.

Moved over to Tweeners and did the same, taking advantage of the lack of the cornice to stomp around a bit.  Again nothing moving after the initial slide for life the chunks did.  Skied it with no activity, again no sluffing on the run, or cracking up top in the wind exposed entrance. Pleasant surprise.

The world below the ridgeline was completely different.  Calm wind, relatively light new accumulation( a few inches) and skiing boot deep fresh powder on a supportive base. Stayed on the ridge line all the way to the end.

The face below Tweeners is notorious for sliding. Facing slightly NE, it tends to get crusts with the sunit, then covered by storm snow.  When instability is bad, this triangle face can let you know.  Didn’t spend more a than a few seconds on the face, felt the crust at times underneath the varying depths of new snow. Again, much to my surprise, it held with out so much as a sluff through the run.

Had the world to myself, enjoyed the solitude in the Forgotten Trees with some fine pow skiing.  Watching the snow stack up on the deck as the next system moves through(four inches at 9:45 of the fluff at EV base)Day off tomorrow should get back to the pits and multiple runs.


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