This week saw a significant warm spell, a wind event, and, finally, a dusting of new snow. Hence, the snow conditions are what we like to call “variable.” The best skiing is still on the road, in drainages, and meadows. There are not many turns to be had in the alpine zone, so touring is the best bet until (if) we get some more snow.
Despite the never-ending dry spell, visitors are taking advantage of winter in Tuolumne Meadows. People are snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, biking (east of the park boundary) and even rock climbing! Ski conditions are ever changing. The road corridor is the most user friendly place for skiing.
The snow surface has gone through some melt - freeze cycles this week which has improved the ski conditions. The snow is still pretty shallow, with the deeper snow on the north aspects. The Tioga Road is mostly snow covered with one small patch of dry pavement from Tuolumne Meadows to Tioga Pass. This is an ideal winter for snow-shoeing especially along the trail corridors.
So.... the sun and now the winds have ravaged the mountain snow. BUT, the low angle winter lighting on the newly formed waves of sastrugi is great for photography. And the peace and quiet of the new year makes touring in wilderness as lovely as ever.
December 30, 2014Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
The ski conditions and weather have held a bit of everything since our last post. It has snowed a little and the wind has blown a lot over the past ten days. It was unseasonably warm for a couple of days and now it is bitter cold. That being said, one can imagine the changes that have taken place with the ski conditions. Every turn is different and if you’re lucky you’ll hit a pocket of powder.
December 20, 2014Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
The winter rangers arrived to Tuolumne Meadows last week and this is our first conditions update of the season! We will be updating this report weekly this winter. We are happy to say that things are looking and feeling a lot more like winter around here than last season. The ski conditions and snow coverage are good making for ideal winter travel. Snow depths in the area range from 16 inches to 32 inches depending on aspect and elevation.
Different year, same dry Sierra’s. Calendar year 2013 was the driest year in the history of weather record keeping in Yosemite National Park. That being said, there is still enough snow in the greater Tuolumne area for skiing.
December 22, 2013Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
It has been a dry start to the 2013-2014 winter. Our weather data is incomplete due to our late arrival at Tuolumne Meadows. Currently the snow depth is 7 to 14 inches, depending on aspect and elevation. That being said, the ski conditions on the Tioga Road and in Tuolumne Meadows are pretty darn good. The Tioga Road is virtually 100% snow covered in Yosemite National Park. There is some bare pavement on the Lee Vining grade from Tioga Pass to the gate at the bottom of Lee Vining Canyon. If approaching from the east, a bicycle would be a good idea until there is more snow.
This is our last post of the winter of 2013. The snow stake here at Tuolumne Meadows reads 0 inches, so it must be time to head for our summer range down south at Sequoia National Park. There was a lot of melting this week as temperatures were in the upper 50s each day. There is patchy snow below 9,000 feet on all aspects except south, and the best coverage remains above 9,500 feet on north aspects.
This week provided some great corn skiing opportunities below tree line, but above there is still some challenging wind-affected snow. This should change for the better with the upcoming melt freeze cycle. There is more bare ground showing every day, and the best coverage remains on north facing slopes above 9,000 feet.
A little new snow followed by high winds hit the Tuolumne area this week. There was a brief period of good powder skiing before the north winds came along and redistributed the new snow and retextured the snow surface.
Seasonal temperatures and dry conditions prevailed in the Tuolumne Meadows area this week. The little bit of snow that we did get early in the week helped to smooth the snow surface and give some grip to the waxless skis. Now is the time for ski touring as conditions are set up for covering the miles and expedient travel.
Above-normal temperatures and dry conditions prevailed in the Tuolumne Meadows area this week. It is presently snowing, however, and though not forecast to be a significant precipitation event, any additional water added to the snowpack will be welcome.
February 27, 2013Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
Whether you asked for it or not, spring is in the air. Warm temperatures and cool nights are forecast for the week. If we are lucky, this will provide for an early harvest of corn snow, although we prefer a diet of powder this time of year.
February 07, 2013Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
It was a dry week with calm winds and seasonal temperatures in the Tuolumne Meadows area. The base snow depth remains unchanged in spite of the persistent dry weather, however, and coverage is still excellent for ski touring.
February 05, 2013Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
December came in with a bang and January is going out with a whimper. Only 14 inches of snow fell this month, but thanks to the short days of winter, the base depth remains solid. What snow did fall, has been thrown back, forth and beyond with some fierce winds. One would think with the week of warm temperatures there would be no loose snow to transport and to send flags of snow towering above the peaks, but that is not the case!
The cold snap that covered the Western US this week also visited Tuolumne Meadows and its icy grip could be felt for most of the week. There were 3 consecutive days where the low temperature was -17, -22, and -21 respectively.
Ski conditions this week were shaped by windy and warm weather conditions. The thermometer hit 55°F and we had several days of high North East winds. Wind effected snow is now prevalent on most aspects above tree line. There is still soft snow below tree line, though the warm temperatures have confined the good skiing to the North aspects.
The winter rangers got what they wished for this Christmas in abundance. Presents were under (and on top of) every tree! Now, however, the snow has been blown off most of the branches after a pretty significant northeast wind event. Above treeline, sastrugi and wind crusts of varying densities are lurking. In some places, where the snow has been deposited or where it has been protected, it remains soft. Below treeline, the trail breaking has become much easier.
December 27, 2012Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
Wow. After last winter we were wondering if we had made a wise choice moving to the Sierras from the snowiest place in Colorado. This week was certainly testimony that this can also be a “snowy range.” There were essentially two storms that hit the Tuolumne area this week and accounted for a whopping 56” of new snow.
December 18, 2012Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
It was a snowy week in the Tuolumne area. We had measurable snowfall 5 out of 7 days. Though it was not the big Sierra dump, the snowfall this week contributed to the settled base depth, which in turn contributed to more favorable ski conditions.
It has been great spring skiing in the Tuolumne Meadows vicinity. The weather this week was dominated by warm, sunny days and clear, cold nights. This is the ideal formula for setting up the snowpack for Sierra corn skiing. Most aspects were skiing well between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM.