Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

We did a few laps in the sun, reaching a high point of about 3500′. Sunburst lot was packed so we skinned in from the Center Ridge parking lot. We dug quick pits at 2000′ and 3200′, with another hand pit at 1600′. There was about 8″ low-density snow on top of surface hoar, which was sitting on top of a crust up to about 1500′. We did not see any signs of instability.

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

Clear skies and calm winds with an occasional light NE breeze. Temps stayed cool all day, but we were soaking up the warmth in the sun.

Snow surface

8" low-density snow since Thursday, still not showing any signs of behaving like a slab. We noticed surface hoar on top of the new snow starting at around 2000' and going all the way up to our high point at 3500'. We were seeing about 8" ski penetration, and 10-12" boot penetration. There is plenty of snow ready to get blown around when the wind picks back up.


We dug quick pits at 2000' and 3500' to see how the recent snow was behaving on top of the buried layer of surface hoar and near-surface facets. The new snow had not started gaining enough strength to behave as a slab yet. It didn't look like there had been any wind to speak of since this most recent snow, all the way up to the ridgetop. If we had encountered any wind-loaded slopes, I wouldn't have trusted them at all.

Pit results:

Pit 1- W aspect, 2000'. Total snow depth 9', 8" new snow on top of 4-6 mm surface hoar. ECTN14 on the buried surface hoar.

Pit 2- SW aspect, 3200'. Total snow depth 10', 8" new snow on top of 4 mm surface hoar. ECTX.

Signs pointed to good stability today, but it looks like even a little bit of wind could change that quickly.

Photos & Video
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