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.