Here is a brief report on conditions from Needle Peak (Coquihalla area) and Rogers Pass.
On my way to Canmore I planned two stops – a quick ski at Coquihalla area and a full ski day at Rogers Pass.
Forecasted avalanche conditions were quite different for the two locations and indeed the weather at both locations was quite different as well.
Needle Peak – Coquihalla (Jan 16, 2010)Weather conditions can be defined in two words – blue bird. But what surprised me was absolute absence of winds – even “calm” would be too strong of a word.
Snow within the treeline was quite deep and fairly dry. Once on the ridge and getting out of the trees the top layers were wind affected but it really depended on the spot how much the wind played its role as it changed quite a bit.
Skiing experience was pretty good, especially in the tree line. On the ridge not so pleasant, due to breakable wind slab, but definitely skiable.
Avalanches – I observed only one debris from a small slab that was about 8m wide and run for only about 15m. Might have been about 20-30cm deep. It was on NE aspect on a wind loaded slope above tree line.
Rogers Pass (Jan 17, 2010)Due to high avalanche danger rating at tree line and above we opted to head for Ursus Trees and then gain a ridge on the right side of the basin and ski laps there.
Weather was typical for Selkirks – high overcast with occasional breaks chased by small flurries.
However, the temperatures felt quite warm (about -2 C) even at 2000m. The winds were calm where we were.
In the trees we skied and pretty much anywhere in the tree line the snow was…super deep and…very good. 🙂 Hard work setting a skin track though as the penetration on skis was about 30cm and more.
Skiing was Rogers Pass average, in one word – fantastic. We had the whole treed slope for ourselves, so we skied a brand new run every time.
We observed debris at couple of locations from avalanches from the previous days but nothing on that day.
Neither anything was going on a surface hoar layer in the trees we were skiing. However, these trees get skied a lot, therefore, the surface hoar might got destroyed before any snow fell on top of it.
“Hard work setting a skin track though as the penetration on skis was about 30cm and more.” Waaaa! I feel so sorry for you my friend!