4 min read

April 18 - Sea to Sky Snow Conditions

April 18 - Sea to Sky Snow Conditions
It’s the season to get high and stay high!

Overall theme:

April continues to deliver. What we are lacking in new snow, we are more than making up for with fast travel, little wind and stable, faceted snow on high and steep north faces. The mediocre winter is being replaced by prime time spring conditions. Get it while you can - as long as you can get to the high north faces!

Where we’ve been skiing:

High, high and high! It is the week of 4/20 after all. That is the name of the game get high and stay high as much as you can right now. For the first part of the week we were able to base out of Kees (pronounced ‘case’) and Claire Hut. This was the perfect jumping off point for deep spearhead fun. North facing runs on Overlord, Fissile and Chek were done first hand, with some tracks witnessed on Iago. To add to the good times, the steep solars are setting up for some nice corn. Perfect creamy turns were had down Benvolio to get to Chek. We’ve moved on to the Duffey for some classics in the last few days and north facing lines on Joffree, Matier and Slalok are all skiing well, even down to 1800m in sheltered north terrain. 

What’s happened since the last update (weather & general snowpack structure):

Here’s the good thing and the bad thing… nothing has really happened. A few small convective pulses added 2-10cms from the Spearhead range to the Duffey freshening things up slightly. Not really any significant winds to transport much snow - only buff up and reset the high north faces after a busy weekend of getting shredded last week - tons of folks took advantage of the great conditions. Now its just reset, settled, faceted pow from cold (-10) and calm crystal clear nights. Whatever low elevation snow was left last weekend is still barely holding on with the cold nights as well. To sum it up we are operating in a spring diurnal snowpack, with a stable and well settled structure with only solar loose wet concerns as it heats up, and the odd wind slab pocket in exposed high places. Minimal sluffing on the shady steeps - so play it safe as per normal

Here’s a quick rundown on access right now:

Squamish: still just enough snow to get into Elfin, Gondola and Brohm with snow starting around 1000m - intermittent for a little but mostly reliable above that.

Whistler is on spring hours - lifts open at 9am! And upper mountain does not really open until 10am, maybe sooner, but not for us. This is why I recommended the K and C jumpstart program - its such a beautiful spot to base out of and start your trip! They have closed off the lower mountain for bike park work, but a white ribbon of death is almost possible to ski out to the village - minor walking but going fast. Singing Pass trail would be snow free until around 900m elevation. 

Duffey - runners and trail spikes for Joffre. Same for Cerise creek but only for about a half hour until the logging road. The trails down low are pure ice take caution. Cayoosh is holding on to snow on the road from the parking lot but cross ditches are opening up. The trail to Wendy Thompson is also quite treacherous- runners and spikes!

What’s the weather and avalanche forecast?

It looks like one more day of perfect spring weather before a small reset. 10-15cms maybe? Fingers crossed, that would be nice and not mess up the stability too much. After that Sun, Mon look like colder and clear so get after it. Sunday might be dirtier with cloud and convective, but Monday should clean right up. A weather change of colder and snowier looks possible next week. As per earlier notes, its the time to get after your objectives - we’re still leary of the tight steep lines that have been running continuously but the big faces seems to be better set up right now. And travel for traverses is all time fast and easy!

Meteoblue Multimodel forecast for Whistler Peak

What are my questions for the weekend? 

How much will it snow on saturday night? And blow? The new snow amounts and how they come in are our only real concerns right now.

What will I watch out for or avoid completely?  

Anything with low elevation exits or starts are not on our radar. Its rugged down low. Think about how to get to the alpine as easily as possible! As noted as well, the steep, tight spaces that have been avalanching tons might not be the best lines this year. Think faces over tight chutes. 

Closing Thoughts:

The season is finally providing, as we hoped spring might! Get after it if you can, take advantage of high access points and fast travel.