2015 Weather and Snow Observations

May 1st

Weather conditions over the past two weeks have been relatively stable with many sunny days and very little precipitation. The forecast is calling for more stable weather over the weekend with a low pressure and unsettled weather moving in early next week. With the trend of sunny days, solar warming in steep terrain is still the primary avalanche concern. Point release is easily triggered and will run the length of the slope. If your going into the backcountry this weekend assess conditions carefully and manage your terrain.

April 17th

Skiers in the Tatoosh with The Castle and Mount Rainier in the background

The last two weeks have brought more new snow and sunny weather to Mount Rainier. Recent storms totals in the Tatoosh area was 1.5 feet with 2 feet or more in the surrounding Paradise area. 
April Pin Wheels
Ski quality in the Tatoosh on solar aspects was wet and supportable, shady aspects were variable with a supportable crust surface throughout.  Allow extra time to access the terrain as the Stevens Canyon road is still closed.  The last two days have been sunny and warm with the forecast calling for sunny and warm weather through the weekend. Snow test pits over the last week have shown stable results in the lower and mid pack with surface snow instability and solar warming being the primary concern in the upper pack. Be sure to check the NWAC avalanche forecast before going for a tour. Sunny slopes 35 degrees and steeper were producing point release loose wet avalanches.  Timing will be critical when skiing these solar aspects as we rapidly move into spring and warmer days.

April 1st

The latest storm cycle brought some new snow to the lower flanks of mount rainier, and has made for some of the better skiing out of the paradise area this season. Depending on location and terrain approx. 8”-12” of lighter snow has accumulated with pockets of 13”-15” of wind transported snow with a soft crust. The new snow appears to be bonding well to the older, stable existing snowpack. Some type of Flotation for travel in the backcountry is recommended and a ski penetration of approx. 4”-6” while touring can be expected. Moderate avalanche conditions predicted by NWAC were confirmed with only one small point release observed on a very steep slope in the paradise area. Standard travel precautions should be observed, with the low snow pack many small terrain traps and open creeks exist. Further, this recent snow has obscured many of the rock and tree hazards that do not usually exist in paradise at this time of year, ski with caution as there are many obstacles on every aspect.