Surprise, Powder!

The Rockies are known for surprises. Ski a scree slope mid-winter that you’ve been on all season, and you are surprised by the slab that pops from the depth hoar that developed. But spring, summer, fall, those surprises are usually a good thing. It’s been snowing -as I’m sure everyone knows- in Calgary. Well it snowed even more in the Rockies. Of particular note was a large storm I kept an eye on, that came in warm (snow level ~2800m), and kept getting colder till it was snowing down to valley bottom. So, what does this mean? Good times on glaciers that you wouldn’t normally have. How, you ask? Well, the sopping rain coats the ice and whatever snow is on it, till rain turns to slush. Slush sticks really well to ice. Then it gets colder some more and turns to snow. Now, snow usually doesn’t want to stick to well to ice, but with some transition layer of wet soggy snow, it will stick just fine. Then more snow sticks to the existing snow and all of a sudden, you’ve got banger conditions where there usually isn’t. Continue reading Surprise, Powder!