Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Little Teton Mountain (Arctic Vallley)

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Near Weather Station Arctic Valley

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

Moderate wind loading

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.
Weather

Obscured skies and freezing fog. Temps in the high twenties and falling with moderate SE winds. No photos taken due to poor weather conditions and low light.

Snow surface

New snow 2-3 in on top of stiff wind slab at 3900ft. Snow quality changed significantly at @2800 with softer wetter and less supportive snow (to skier weight) with average snow heights at lower elevation 40-60cm.

Snowpack

Warm temps and persistent winds alternating from north and SE have significantly transformed the snowpack at AV ski area this week. Currently there is strong variability in snowpack depths ranging from 5cm to 240cm at higher elevations. We dug two pits to examine effects of recent warming trends and wind on the snowpack. Pit one was was 140 cm deep. The top 5cm of the pit exhibited a hardness of F, the next 120cm were 1F and the bottom 15 cm hardness returned to F. Test results in this pit yielded CT 16 x2 with quality of SC/SP at 125cm (broke on the interface of the ground facets and wind slap) and an ECTP 16 SC/SP at 15cm from ground on the same facets. Pit 2 was 205cm deep. We did not dig to ground but explored a layer 35cm deep. This layer exhibited poor bonding between two wind slab layers 35cm from the surface; multiple CT tests failed in the teen's to low twenties with resistant planar quality and ECTN 22 BKN. Finally of note at was a "raincrust" which became evident @ 2800-3000 feet and at approximately the same elevation the snow became significantly more "punchy" in nature and unable to support skier weight as consistently as higher elevation snowpack.

Photos & Video
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