Cracking En Route
One of our testers in Sun Valley headed out to ski a little. While he was traveling he noted the widespread cracking. Even a week after the most recent loading the snowpack was showing signs of instability. The snow has been less than fruitful so the current snowpack was composed mostly of two storms. Thin snowcover and cold temps usually means depth hoar.
Testing with the Lyte probe in tandem with a pit, quickly revealed the bottom part of the snowpack was all depth hoar. The bottom layer was the reason for the stability issues and it revealed itself not only in the extended column test but also on the probe. The probe sees this because of how large the depth hoar crystals because of how big they are. For NIR in snow, larger snow crystals show up darker than smaller ones. We, of course, are encouraged to see that probe picks up old snow problems. Pits and profiles like these take the Lyte probe one step closer to deploying an new tool for avalanche operations.