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Upside-down surprise

Monday, December 23, 2013

Only 5” of the reported 13.5” at mid-mountain fell overnight, but the skiing was so good the day before that I was up early for first tracks. The temperatures had warmed about 5F from the day before, and the snow under the Sundown lift was wind-affected, with the beginnings of a wind slab forming. The wind had even gotten into the trees, though far less than the open slopes.

I headed for the wind-sheltered spots that skied the best. I measured a foot, although half of that was transported by the wind. I could definitely feel the denser snow on top of yesterdays very light powder. Since storms usually start out warm and end cold, the snow usually becomes lighter as the storm progresses leading to sublime powder skiing. Upside-down snow, conversely, has a dense layer of snow sitting atop a light layer, and it makes the snow inconsistent and difficult to ski. Wider skis and snowboards tend to fair better in these conditions as the wider surface underfoot keeps the rider in the denser snow layer and out of the lighter snow.

Areas that seemed least wind affected were Closet, the lower half of Shadows and Lower Shadows and the trees around Rolex. My last run was up Morningside to check out the East Face and the Second Pitch. The snow stake at the top read 66”, which is an actual 60” of base.

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