Observation: Portage / Placer

Location: Skookum Drainage

Route & General Observations

Afternoon ride into the Placer Valley to see how much snow has fallen since the January dry spell and how it was reacting specifically at lower elevations. We found 12-16″ of settled snow from the past 8 days over weak sugary snow. Not a great setup for the future in this area.

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

Warm! Obscured skies, very hard to see.
32-35F in the paring lot and around 30-32F in the drainage.
Light snow fell all day with around an inch of new snow through the day.
No wind in the drainages.

Snow surface

12-16" of soft settled powder existed from the parking to the toe of Skookum drainage.


We dug two pits on either side of Skookum drainage around 350'. Total snow depth around 230cm (7').
Both pits showed between 12-16" of settled snow from the past 8 days sitting on weak snow from the January dry spell. A thin gray line of buried surface hoar was found directly under the recent storm snow. This was not reactive at all. However, the faceted snow underneath was just starting to show signs of being reactive (ECTN 15). This faceted layer was 3-6+ inches thick. As more snow piles up on this weak layer in the future, it could start becoming more of an issue. As of now, we don't know of any avalanches that have occurred on this weak layer in this zone.

Photos & Video
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