High temperature: 55°F (April 4th)
Low temperature: 17°F (April 8th)
New Snow: 4 inches
Total settled snow depth: 20 inches as of April 10
Skiing Conditions and Weather: A little new snow followed by high winds hit the Tuolumne Meadows 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. Warming temperatures this week should see a return to corn skiing on most aspects and elevations, except south aspects, which are mostly bare. The Tioga road is bare pavement from the closed gate in Lee Vining Canyon to Tioga Pass. There are some bare patches on the road between Tioga Pass and Tuolumne Meadows that grow bigger every day. If travelling from the west (Crane Flat), there are several miles of dry pavement in the vicinity of Gin Flat.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times a week and more often during weather events.
The avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. There may be pockets of wind slab in the higher elevations left behind by the recent storm. These pockets will be small and isolated and wilderness travelers should be cautious on steeper slopes and areas that may present a terrain trap if caught in a slide. Also as temperatures warm again, isolated wet slide activity is always a possibility especially if night time temperatures do not reach freezing or below.
Wildlife: American robins, mountain chickadees, northern flickers, Clark's nutcrackers, and common ravens were seen in the Tuolumne Meadows area this week. A few painted lady butterflies also braved the winds during their annual migration, but most other critters kept hidden with the unsettled weather of last week.
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is an ample supply of firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. You can call the Tuolumne Meadows Ranger Station at 209/372-8734. If you leave a message we will get back to you the first chance we get. Power and phones are frequently out of service. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns if you are unable to reach the ranger station. Come prepared; don't count on electricity or phone service at the ski hut.
Happy Ski Touring!
Laura and Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers
Dana Meadows and clouds, April 2, 2013.