Nov 18, 2010, Crystal Mtn, Sunshine and Blower Pow

11/18/10
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
10152
6
Posted by Amar Andalkar on 11/19/10 4:13am
The telemetry didn't lie this time: 16" of new snow overnight, with temps falling throughout and mostly light winds, and so we found exactly what we expected: low-density blower powder, not even rippled by the wind, atop a smooth firm base which buried the rocks. The new snow fell atop bare ground at the 4400 ft base area, but above 5000 ft fell atop a base of old rain-compacted snow, which was deep enough (1+ ft) above 6000 ft to bury most rocks on appropriately chosen runs.


New snow and sunshine, plus towers for the new gondola.

Snow was falling down to 1400 ft just outside Enumclaw during the drive, and soon the famed Rainier Rainshadow was shining through: blue skies and sunshine from Greenwater to Crystal. Pulled into the parking lot at 9am, and met a bunch of other TAYers. Grooming operations were well underway, with several snowcats compacting the new snow on most major runs (just compacting, not actually grooming yet though).



We headed out just before 9:30am, skinning up the nicely compacted snow, sweet that everyone could avoid trailbreaking for 2450 vert in 16" of cohesionless fluff. Reached the top of Rex by 11am, catching up to another group of 3 whom we joined for the next few runs. Dropped into Green Valley to sweet floating bliss:





Snow stability appeared to be excellent, with the new snow falling at decreasing temps and density, and and it appeared to be well bonded to the underlying crust. We set off no slides or sluffs in the Green Valley area, even on the steep convex rolls. We took 4 runs of about 1000 vert from the top of Rex down to the Green Valley chair, plus a shorter run down West Face, all in superb snow conditions.


West Face shots. (Photo by Josh Marvel)

The blue skies disappeared by 1:30pm, with clouds and light snow moving in, but still no wind. By this time, lift operations people were just beginning to install the cable for the new gondola, looks like they only got about 1/4 of it done by day's end.


Pulling the cable for the new gondola.

Snow quality on the mostly NE to NW aspects that we skied did not deteriorate all day. On the way out from Green Valley at day's end (via the compacted cat track to Lucky Shot), snow conditions were a bit heavier on these SE aspects, affected as expected by several hours of sunshine. But the snow was still powder at 3:30pm thanks to cold temps, and skied nicely all the way to the bottom. Down low, where the new snow fell atop bare ground instead of the previous base, it was best to stick to the compacted runs to avoid hitting rocks.



An amazingly great day, about 6000 vert of beautiful turns, skinning right from the bumper of the car and skiing all the way back to it. One of the best pre-season days I've ever had at Crystal.



[tt">11-18-2010                                                                                     11-18-2010
Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center                                                         Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center
Crystal Mountain Ski Area, Washington                                                          Green Valley, Crystal Mountain Ski Area

Wind gage heat, 24 hr snow gage not yet on for season                                          24 hr snow gage not yet on for season

MM/DD  Hour  Temp  Temp    RH    RH  Wind  Wind  Wind  Wind  Hour Total 24 Hr Total           MM/DD  Hour  Temp 24 Hr Total
         PST     F     F     %     %   Min   Avg   Max   Dir Prec. Prec.  Snow  Snow                   PST     F  Snow  Snow
             6870' 4480' 6870' 4480' 6870' 6870' 6870' 6870' 4480' 4480' 4480' 4480'                       6300' 6300' 6300'
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------          ------------------------------
11 17   900    26    33    98    90    20    37    54   203     0     0    81     3           11 17   900    26    74    13
11 17  1000    26    32    99    95    11    27    46   225     0     0    76     1           11 17  1000    25    74    12
11 17  1100    26    32   100    98    13    34    61   231     0     0    81   239           11 17  1100    26    74    13
11 17  1200    26    32   100    98    24    44    64   191   .08   .08    93   239           11 17  1200    26    74    12
11 17  1300    26    32   100    99    27    49    72   151   .14   .22    80   239           11 17  1300    25    73    13
11 17  1400    25    32   100    99    19    42    70   248   .15   .37    79   239           11 17  1400    25    73    14
11 17  1500    26    33   100    99    18    40    64   214   .14   .51    86   239           11 17  1500    25    73    15
11 17  1600    24    30   100    98     4    19    39   320   .12   .63    97   239           11 17  1600    23    73    15
11 17  1700    22    30    99    98     1     7    14   275   .13   .76    72   239           11 17  1700    21    73    15
11 17  1800    22    29    99    97     7    12    25   281   .11   .87    56   239           11 17  1800    21    74    16
11 17  1900    22    29   100    98     4    10    20   287   .07   .94    46   239           11 17  1900    20    74    17
11 17  2000    22    29    99    98     1     5    11   288   .07  1.01    42   239           11 17  2000    20    74    18
11 17  2100    21    28    99    98     1     5    16   284   .09   1.1    40   239           11 17  2100    20    74    19
11 17  2200    19    27    99    98     5    12    20   338   .06  1.16    36   239           11 17  2200    18    75    20
11 17  2300    18    27    98    97     2    10    20   169   .07  1.23    31   239           11 17  2300    17    75    22
11 18     0    18    27    98    97     3    11    20   233   .03  1.26    30   239           11 18     0    16    75    23
11 18   100    18    27    98    97     4    10    20   199   .04   1.3    28   239           11 18   100    17    75    23
11 18   200    19    27    98    97     3    10    28   229   .04  1.34    28   239           11 18   200    17    76    23
11 18   300    18    27    98    97     4    12    40   273   .04  1.38    27   239           11 18   300    17    76    24
11 18   400    17    26    98    97     8    21    45   278   .02   1.4    28   239           11 18   400    16    76    24
11 18   500    16    25    97    96     4    13    31   294   .11  1.51    28   239           11 18   500    15    76    26
11 18   600    16    24    97    96     6    12    30   239   .05  1.56    35   239           11 18   600    14    76    27
11 18   700    16    24    97    96     6    19    39   280     0  1.56    34   239           11 18   700    13    76    27
11 18   800    15    25    97    95     5    14    35   333   .01  1.57    27   239           11 18   800    13    76    26
[/tt]

Nice making turns with you.

FUN DAY!

I think he's embarrassed to admit he skied with us.Haha ;) So and so sure can break trail good!

nice. 

do you think we can skin to Silver Basin tomorrow or will the resort get upset?

Great TR and the photos are spectacular. On the same day, I went to White Pass...man I have got to hit Crystal too.

Nice report. West face looked epic.

author=Kyle Miller link=topic=18017.msg76247#msg76247 date=1290211529]
Nice report. West face looked epic.


^^^^^^^^ you are in trouble Kyle Miller. Ride on chair and let your buddies walk???????

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7919
nov-18-2010-crystal-mtn-sunshine-and-blower-pow
Amar Andalkar
2010-11-19 12:13:44