Tuesday, May 6, 2014

North Side Update

I know that some of you noticed the Pallavicini and North Glade gates are closed. We have had several days now that the overnight temperature has not dropped appreciably below the freezing point. In the spring we become very concerned when water starts moving through the snow pack, especially when it hits the faceted crystals near the ground surface. These conditions can lead to snow instabilities and let us know when it is time to start closing the steep terrain.

There are several measurements and observations we make that help us determine where the water is. We have instrumentation buried deep in the snow on Pali that indicates the presence of water. Our avalanche team digs a lot of holes to see what the snow looks like below the surface We pay close attention to the Snake River looking for spikes in streamflow. Lastly, we follow the weather very closely knowing that extended warm periods will precede water movement. Simply looking at surface conditions does not tell us much about the snowpack. Obviously, we have been watching all of these things closely. In anticipation of future instabilities, our snow team decided it was time to close the North Side yesterday.

This may not be for good. In the coming days, we are forecasted to see a bit of snow and cooler temperatures. If conditions change, a re-opening of the steep stuff is possible. Stay tuned.

Don't be too discouraged, we have a lot of great skiing and great snow left. At some point in May we always make this transition.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the East Wall still open?

Anonymous said...

The snow report shows the east wall open.

Anonymous said...

Everything is open except pali runs, upper east wall, and zuma cornice and west zuma.

turbos mom said...

thats because the east wall is open

Anonymous said...

Disapointing to see Pali closing so early, with a 72" base. In the past, Pali stayed open until base depths depleted into the lower 40" range. I miss the awesome May, spring corn snow conditions on Pali, hopefully the terrain will re-open.

Anonymous said...

With 20 inches in the forecast, seems likely!

Turbo's Mom said...

^ did you read Al's post.
Closing Pali has nothing to do with base depth.
It's about temperature, water moving in the snowpack, and your safety !

Anonymous said...

How far in the past was that? Must have been before 05. Way better to err on the side of caution.

Anonymous said...

For those that don't pay attention, somebody lost their life on Pali due to conditions like those that are developing a few years ago. I think that A-Basin is doing the right thing by playing it safe.

Anonymous said...

Al and Crew, Thank you for putting skier safety first. What a great year it has been! LB

Jeff said...

Thanks for this, Al. I've been hoping to run into you to ask about this exact subject. Must be a challenging year with the above normal snowpack, the two (at least) dust layers, the rapid warm, and the stand-down on avalaunchers. Appreciate the update.