Monday, December 7, 2009

96% air

We finally got a real winter storm. From this morning’s avalanche forecast:

As the Provo UDOT forecaster Craig Patterson put it this morning – looking out at the 16” of 4% there in front of his shed in the canyon, “If we had a base, this is what dreams would be made of.”

4% snow is 96% air. That’s unbelievably delightful to ski in. Unfortunately, it’s unbelievably lousy in terms of providing coverage. It’s so light, it took me all of 10 minutes to clear my driveway this morning. With a storm like this, provided it were falling on any kind of a base, we would ordinarily be enjoying this:

Instead, I’m stuck in my office, contemplating this:


  1. I at least hope your stapler is the antimicrobial type:

  2. That stapler looks fast just sitting there.

  3. It was so light I could not even use the new snowblower. Just not fair. New toy check. Snow check. 4% snow.. Crap.

  4. With this acting as the base, are we in for a long season of sketchy snow? I guess I'll find out for sure in our class in a couple weeks.

  5. JZ, we're low tech. We just have a tub of hand sanitizer sitting next to it.

    KK, it is.

    Blackdog, the snowplow went by right as I was finishing. Usually that means soupy mess that my snowblower chokes on. This morning, it just threw it back in the road no problem. Post plow, it was probably up to 12% or so.

    Aaron, not necessarily. The faceted stuff underneath on the north and east facing slopes at high elevation is the bigger problem. As long as new snow keeps coming and bonds to this stuff, it shouldn't be a big deal.

  6. Aaron, my 2 cents: I would say that the series of storms headed our way will provide a stable base. The light fluffy snow will consolidate quickly. In most areas, there isn't any snow, so there won't be a chance for depth hoar to form. The snow comes during a really cold spell in December, which reduces further the formation of depth hoar. The places to be careful are on the northish faces, which have been holding snow for the last 2 months. I think those snowpacks are pretty stable, but there could be a few pockets, which with the new storms and increased loads, could rip out. Some areas holding snow also house surface hoar and sugary snow on which the new snow could (and likely will) fail.

  7. burn it down. burn the building DOWN!

  8. Glad to see some pictures of snow. Sorry your not enjoying it.

    We get freezing rain here in Missouri today. That just plain sucks.