Backcountry Snow Report – April 27, 2014

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Hi there skiers and snowboarders!  Apologies to all the followers of this blog. I hope both of you will forgive us, as we have been busy “getting it while we can” here in the Eastern Sierra. It has been great to run into so many friends from near and far around here with the same idea.

Although it has been one of the driest seasons on record, the spring is actually shaping up for us. So many people are talking about hanging up the boards for the season because of what they see on the Eastern slope of the range, but when you get back in a bit you can actually see that there is plenty of fun potential out there. Recently shared a ski day with local adventurer, photographer, snow surveyor, and backcountry renaissance man, John Dittli, who reported to me that recent snowpack measurements at 10,000′ are being calculated at 50% of average. That is actually not half bad. Or is it half good? Either way, there is observably a lot more snow up high than last year at this time, and there was a decent, albeit short, spring season then. Check out the April data from SC Edison Snow Surveys:


This shows that North of the Bishop zone, the snowpack is not as grim as people may think. South of Big Pine, all bets are off.

Some meteorologists say the el Niño (Spanish for “the Niño”) is kicking in, finally changing the pattern of drought for California. This might mean a wetter period is beginning that will last into next season. The storm that has just ended has been very generous, leaving ~2 feet of new snow in the high country above 9000′. Winds have done some work to push the snow around, so you will still find variations on depth and quality. Sun is high in the sky and is tagging all but the steepest, highest North aspects, in spite of cool temps. Should settle out to be some good skiing in sheltered north couloirs soon, then after some forecasted high pressure days we will see the corn season resume with new and improved coverage. Be safe and enjoy it out there, and check out this gallery to see what conditions looked like just prior to the storm. See you out there!


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