Conditions Report: Golden Jan 27, 2017
Mountain Sledder | On 27, Jan 2017
After a series of wild fluctuations in which the temperature went from wickedly cold to downright spring-like, it seems that we’ve settled into a normal pattern for the time being at least. Mid-day temperatures hovering just below freezing at valley bottom are more the norm, and it’s finally left Goldenites feeling like we can look forward to some regular winter conditions.
Not only has the temperature settled, but so has the snowpack. It’s been over a week now since the last round of storms, so conditions in the main zones are pretty compacted in the well trafficked areas. As always, you can find fresh snow still in the trees and out-of-the-way areas. It’s been cold enough that what untracked snow is still out there is soft and remains largely unaffected by the sun.
Speaking of sun, it’s been out a little bit here and there despite a forecast calling for mostly clouds in the last week. Monday was epic bluebird, and so was Thursday depending on the time of day and how high in the alpine you could get.
Despite blue skies and warm-but-not-too-hot sunshine in the alpine, winds were howling across the peaks, redistributing snow like crazy. Check out this spindrift blowing into Upper Holt, which is accessed just off Gorman Lake.
Even without recent snowfall, strong winds can also cause uncertainty in the snowpack. How much wind, and how much it has impacted the snowpack locally can change from feature to feature. Regardless, windslab development should be considered across the board at the moment. As always, check Avalanche Canada for the latest info on the avalanche picture.
Looking forward, it appears that the freezing level will rise this weekend, but hopefully not enough to impact the snow quality in riding areas. Mid-next week we’ll drop back into the freezer with cold, clear skies in the forecast. There is no new snow on the horizon, so best plan to do some exploring.
Grooming is underway at all three maintained Golden areas, and trail fees are set at $25/rider.
Quartz — There is good coverage and a solid base from rider traffic. There was a good reset , but that was over a week ago now, so expect the main areas to be pretty pounded out. The trail is in excellent condition. Parking is at the normal parking lot just off the highway. There are portable toilets now at the trailhead.
Gorman — Parking at 3.5km parking lot. The hill can be slippery at times, especially when it’s snowing. Although Gorman is notoriously rocky early season, it’s now in mid-season form. That means it’s still kinda rocky! Riders have pushed all areas in the last few weeks and the valley bottoms are stiff.
Silent Pass — Parking is at 46.5km on the North Fork. Watch for active logging at all times. Like the other areas, the popular terrain is packed, but soft snow can be found on the fringes.