Today was bluebird at Catedral ski resort in Bariloche, Argentina. After getting 6 feet of snow and a lot of rain in the past week, the mountain has been left with fresh snow and a lot of X-factor ice.
You could open it up up high, but down low, you needed to be smart and keep an eye out for bulging ice, rock hard avalanche debris, and rocks.
Lets talk avalanche conditions real quick: digging around the past two days I found a reactive top layer of snow. The top 6 inches or so is very reactive in compression tests. The snowpack generally gets denser as you go down. There are some reactive ice layers about 2 feet down and 3 feet down. It would take a lot to get them to go, but if they went, they’d go huge. It’s what we call “low probability, high consequence. Large avalanches that fell during the storm were seen today in the lower La Laguna Bowl, on the north facing slope that you hike across to get to La Laguna, and on the north face of lower La Laguna. We know from the avalanche forecaster that there were also avalanches that occurred during the storm on Nubes face, and the west facing face directly above the top terminal of the Del Bosque chair. All these avalanches were big wet slides that occurred during the storm.
Now, lets talk skiing. I skied La Laguna straight away and the upper bowl held great snow. The lower bowl held catchy, punchy snow and lots of large death cookies. Down lower, by the Playgroud, the snow was immaculate. This area nearly alway holds the best snow on the mountain as the snow blows into La Laguna then hits the small ridge at the top of the Playground and slows down releasing the snow to fall gently down instead of being driven into the mountain as it is higher up.
This lower zone with the good snow had moments of greatness today, but you really had to keep an eye out for the unusually large death cookies. They were like Rodents of Unusual Size, but not rodents and made of ice.
A storm is rolling in tonight and will hang out all day tomorrow before clearing out on Wednesday. Its going to be a good week here.