There’s still not much snow on the North Shore and low elevation slopes of the South Coast. 20-30 cm of recent snow and blue skies certainly make it look beautiful though. On Dec 29 and 30 I was out touring around the local mountains getting a feel for the conditions. At 900 m there’s around 30 cm of snow, most of this is fresh. If you go up to 1200 m there’s closer to 60 cm and my best guess is there’s around 100 cm near the higher ridge tops. We still need quite a bit of snow to ski the more popular North Shore ski lines. The hiking is not too bad but you have to watch out for icy sections on some of the trails as well as early season hazards like open creeks/lakes and lightly buried obstacles like boulders, stumps, and logs.
As for the snowpack… It’s likely there are some fresh dense wind slabs up high. The current Arctic outflow weather pattern kicked up some strong winds coming from the Northeast yesterday morning. I saw a lot of snow moving on the ridge tops. There was a blanket of small surface hoar (essentially frozen dew) on top of the 20-30 cm of recent snow. This isn’t an issue now but will be something to keep an eye on if it gets buried by a dusting of snow this weekend. We’ll see but usually our North Shore surface hoar problems don’t last more than one storm cycle.
Here are some photos: