Reactive Snow At Kelly Canyon

Current Conditions at Kelly Canyon February 24, 2013

Top 48″
Base 40″

Current Snow Report

The snow depths at KC had settled to 37″ at the top and 30″ at the base by the middle of last week, 2/19/13.

3-6″ fell from 2/20 thru the morning of 2/21 but the big weather event impacting our snow occurred from Friday, 2/22 to Saturday evening, 2/23, when about 13″ fell at KC accompanied by high winds that backed from SW to N during the storm event.

The new, deep snow produced GREAT powder skiing at the hill but also formed wind slabs that produced at least 5 skier/boarder initiated small slides on the west facing slopes dropped into from Bear (AKA Moose Face and adjacent slopes). One of those slides carried and partially buried one skier, while another, reportedly, knocked over another rider.

Ironically, those slopes were skied by a number of others, as evidenced by the multiple track sets seen on those slopes today, without any sliding issues! But, that is the nature of wind slab avalanche “problems”; they tend to be very localized, developing around specific terrain features based on the winds speed and direction! It takes a sharp eye and experience to recognize their presence and even then they are very challenging to spot.

A natural avalanche was also noted next to Ski Hill Road, a couple of hundred yards uphill from the Little Kelly cattle guard. It was tens of feet wide and long and had piled snow onto the road!

A snow test pit near the Patroller Chute of Moose Face showed minimal sliding potential but it was in an area that was more sheltered from wind impacts.

Here are a few photos taken today of some of the slide activity!

Scott Stevens

Natural release along Ski Hill Road

Natural release along Ski Hill Road

Ski cut above cat track to Lift  1

Ski cut above cat track to Lift 1

New wind slab over facets and crust

New wind slab over facets and crust

Slide that partially buried skier

Slide that partially buried skier