Finding powder days after a storm

It takes a special kind of skill to sniff out powder snow days after a storm.  Knowing aspect and elevation certainly help, as does having one of those water-finder forks that you sometimes see in the desert.  Not having one of those forks, I’ve had to resort to the former, and it usually works well enough during the winter months, when days are shorter and there’s less of that glorious California sunshine to affect the snow quality.

This morning’s first dawn-ish patrol (closer to mid-morning, really), which was a number of days after the last snowfall, did pay off at the upper elevations.  You could call it spring powder, that slightly compacted fresh snow that’s makes for fun turns, especially when it’s untracked.

Things got a little more spicy below about 8000 feet, when low snow coverage and springlike conditions required faster reflexes.  But that was a small price to pay for about 1700 feet of backcountry fun before heading into the office.

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