Detailed Observation

Date2020-01-21
LocationValdez
ObserverKyle Sobek
AvalancheN

General Observations

 Nick's Happy Valley- I would estimate there was about 1.5 feet on the glacier of new snow from the past 48 hours. Snowmachined up the gut and did numerous sled ski laps. After a couple laps in the gut we were feeling confident in the snow and decided to step it up onto steeper terrain. We were really on the lookout for snow that had been turned into a windslab as the fresh non-wind affected snow was not cohesive enough to form a slab with propagation potential. I'm certain that had we found a windslab in steeper terrain it would have been very dangerous, but the non-wind affected snow did not have enough cohesion and was mostly just sluffing. We skied a couple of the chutes on the lookers left (a NW aspect 40+ degrees at the start zone) that lead back into the main gut in which dry loose snow slides(sluffs) were the main concern. I ski cut the start zone of one of the bigger chutes and it created a small dry loose snow slide(sluff) in which slid about 1/3 of the way down the chute. Under the new snow is much firmer snow especially in areas that have been exposed to the wind over the last few weeks. Skiing the non-wind affected areas is where it was at, unless you find that it has been loaded by the wind and in that case it would have been very sketchy. 

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