By on February 26, 2013

As we move away from the winter solstices and toward the spring equinox, days grow longer and the sun rises higher. This time of year when there are clear skies the sun warms the day and softens the snow. The day’s warmth will make skier-packed snow ski better, but in the backcountry unconsolidated snow will become heavy and wet.

The rising temperature also increases the rate in which the snowpack morphs. This makes it easier to trigger avalanches during the heat of the day. Watch for snow falling off trees, off cliffs, and natural point releases as indicators of increasing avalanche hazard. Once refrozen the snowpack gains strength and adds another crust to this season’s layered snowpack.

Last week’s storm dropped 20 inches in Rendezvous Bowl, which quickly settled into less than 10 inches. At the lowest elevations, where we are only skiing on a few inches of snow, we wish for a miracle blizzard to finally add good coverage. So while enjoying the fun in the sun, we are always looking for the next snowfall.

About Lisa Van Sciver

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