State of the Snowpack for 2/15/2020 - 2/21/2020

Dates of the Week: 
2/15/2020 to 2/21/2020
Avalanche Problems: 
General Snowpack Structure: 
  • Variable conditions including firm scoured surfaces, breakable crusts, and some areas of soft weaker snow exist on northerly aspects.
  • Spring-like melt-freeze conditions on sun-exposed E-SE-S-SW-W aspects.
Weather Events: 
  • Dry and warm weather with some periods of cloud cover during the week
  • Moderate NE wind event on Sun-Mon

Central Sierra Nevada / Lake Tahoe Snowpack, Weather, and Avalanche Observations for California and Nevada from SAC

Date and time of observation or avalanche occurrence Location Region Observation Type Photos Snowpack, Avalanche, Weather Videos Snowpit videos (tests, etc) Observation made by
02/25/2020 - 12:00 Stevens Peak Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation South side of Stevens Peak Areas of smooth snow on northerly aspects from recent 1'' snow event. Uneven sun sculpted snow. Forecaster
02/24/2020 - 12:30 Rose Knob Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Very small sluff of wet snow on a S aspect at 12:20 pm at around 8000 ft. Uneven sun-sculpted surface on a ridge at about 8800 ft. ~2 inches of corn snow on top of a 12 inch thick refrozen melt-freeze crust on a S aspect at 9000 ft. Coverage is getting thin below 7500 ft. Forecaster
02/24/2020 - 12:30 Roundtop Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Around an inch of soft new snow still present in shady terrain at 8600. A couple day old powder turns. Reverse bootpack at the ridge. While south facing slopes in this area are still rideable down to 7600 feet, coverage is rapidly shrinking. Examining the new snow and what is below. Professional Observer
02/23/2020 - 12:00 Kinney reservoir Ebbetts Pass Area Snowpack Observation Public
02/23/2020 - 11:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Breakable crust with facets below them a north aspect Soft corn snow on a S aspects @ 10:30 am Uneven sun sculpted surfaces Forecaster
02/22/2020 - 12:00 Lincoln Ridge Yuba Pass Area Snowpack Observation Diminished coverage on southerly aspects at lower elevations (below 7800 ft) Mostly clear skies in this area and looking to the south. Shallow soft corn snow on a supportable crust by 11 am on sunny slopes Sun/melt sculpting on a sunny SSW aspect near 7700 ft. Breakable crusts with a thin layer of softer/weaker snow below them on northerly aspects Forecaster
02/21/2020 - 12:00 Cathedral Bowl Desolation Wilderness Area (including Emerald Bay) Snowpack Observation Near tree line north facing terrain around 8000 feet still held some cold wintry snow. Steep north facing terrain showing a couple old crowns and evidence of wind. Soft turns in the sun just after noon. Professional Observer
02/21/2020 - 12:00 Chickadee Ridge Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Coverage on the S side of Slide Mtn Uneven snow surface on a SE aspect at 8900 ft. It was softening by 11 am. Variable conditions including scoured firm snow, soft snow, and breakable crusts on N aspects Shallow corn snow on S-SE aspects between 8000 and 9000 ft by 11:30 am Forecaster
02/21/2020 - 11:00 Stoney Ridge West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Building the 10 cm artificial slab for the loaded PST. Surface faces and extremely thin, breakable crust made for decent travel conditions. Forecaster
02/20/2020 - 15:00 Ebbetts Pass Ebbetts Pass Area Snowpack Observation Professional Observer
02/20/2020 - 15:00 Peak 9452 Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation A couple inches of soft snow during the late afternoon. Previous ski tracks indicating snow softening earlier this week. Several large branches had been knocked down by 2/9 wind event Gully holding debris from 2/9 wind event. Trying to capture depth with my pole for scale of these sun cups/neve penitentes Large area of significant neve penitentes Professional Observer
02/20/2020 - 11:30 Rubicon Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation E aspects near 9000', thin breakable crust with moist faceted snow beneath.  Transitional snow on E aspects, 8500', at noon. Forecaster
02/19/2020 - 13:00 Squaw Ridge Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Professional Observer
02/19/2020 - 12:00 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation 3 cm of corn on top of a P to I hard surface melt-freeze layer over 15 cm thick. Decent snowcover holding on S to SW aspects of Castle Peak. Forecaster