TREND: IMPROVING / ONGOING / DETERIORATING
It is expected to snow lightly this week (described by MountainWatch as ‘light to moderate’ snowfalls during the week), which will complicate backcountry skiing and riding conditions. The existing base is sun, rain and wind affected and very compact, and this light dusting will cover a variable base, some of which already has significant crust aspects. As this new snow falls, it will be sitting on firm/icy snow underneath. Take care when skiing in conditions like this.
The forecast is for snow showers from today (17/7/18) during the week until Friday 20th, with moderate to strong winds and cloudy conditions. Another front should arrive on Thursday, although skies should clear from Friday onwards. There will be poor visibility at times this week. The strong winds can be expected to strip some alpine areas back to the crust/ variable base and deposit fresh snow in leeward aspects. Stanley Bowl should benefit from the movement of spindrift although at this point winds are from the north, which means slopes like the mellow terrain between Stirling Summit and GGS hut could be very icy.
We assume that the western ridge of Mt Buller also has severe wind scouring and variable conditions. There was significant ice formation on steeper and rocky sections of the ridge during the week, so scope lines first and practice extreme caution.
DETAILED ASSESSMENT FROM MT STIRLING BY LUKE SZCZEPANIK (17/7/18):
There's around 60 to 80 cm snow on lee aspects (facing SE) with 5cm of wind crust on top. Deeper in the snow pack there's buried rain crust that sits on a layer of ice. Repetitive test results (CT and ECT) show easy sheer and propagation. While it is unlikely that a skier/rider will trigger anything, ski or board tracks could potentially initiate a slide.
We are treating the back side of the Central east as the general advisory for the North East at the moment given the geography and forecast weather pattern.
Be aware that the snow pack is now weather affected and very icy in many places, including on steeper slopes in the Back Range.
NB: please note that access roads to the Back Ranges (eg to The Bluff via the Howqua River) may have icy patches in shaded areas.
Please note that damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts of 120km/h are likely over Alpine areas on tues (July 17).