Update for December 29th, 2015

December 30, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 16"
Total settled snow depth:
38" inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature:
39°F (December 27th)
Low temperature:
-13°F (December 25th)

Ski Conditions and Weather

Wow! Somebody must’ve been good this year. On Christmas Eve Santa brought Tuolumne Meadows a foot of fresh snow! And, throughout the week, these beautiful flakes kept falling from the heavens. The temperatures have remained cold and although the winds ravaged the alpine zone, there are still plenty of areas for pleasant powder skiing. The new snow has settled and the ski touring has improved to a nice supportable surface with boot top powder. Overall, one can rate the ski conditions as ideal.

Skier enjoying fresh powder on Gaylor Peak.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.

Once the clouds lifted one could see a few old avalanches on some north and west facing slopes, all on steep rocky terrain. These avalanches most likely occurred during or immediately following the wet storm that added significant weight to the existing fragile snowpack. Since then, the snowpack has had time to settle after these storms and the hazard has lessened significantly. The snow that fell this week was low in density and no new avalanche activity was observed. Weak snow layers do persist on most aspects, however, and one should be most attentive to pockets of wind slab in the alpine zone.


Yesterday after a short but welcomed squall, the clouds parted and the sparkling new snow coated the tree tops. Just then, some of that new snow sprinkled down from the disturbed tree branches just in time to catch a park visitor’s eye. He looked up to see a bright red Pine Grosbeak backlit by the sun in Dana Meadows, while Mt Dana itself appeared as a large volcano-like apparition in the background.


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. There is power but no public phone service in Tuolumne Meadows this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared; don't count on electricity or phone service at the ski hut.

Happy New Year!
Laura and Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Winter Rangers

Snow covered mountains and trees with white puffy clouds in the sky.

7 Comments Comments icon

  1. January 01, 2016 at 08:34

    Hello Bill, Holidays and weekends are the busiest times at the Tuolumne Ski Hut. Weekdays and non-holidays are typically less busy, but there may be other visitors at the Ski Hut at anytime. We appreciate your desire to find solitude in the Tuolumne Winter setting and assure you that you do not have to go far from the ski hut to find total solitude!! Enjoy your trip. Rob

  2. January 01, 2016 at 01:46

    Was wondering if there were better times (i.e. less crowded at the hut), like days of the week and maybe certain weeks during the winter. I have been able to spend the night up there before, but it was MANY years ago, and as one ages, solitude is as much of the reason for the trip as anyother. Anyway, just thought I would take a chance in asking. Thanks, Bill

  3. January 01, 2016 at 01:43

  4. January 01, 2016 at 08:08

    So glad to hear you are getting some snow. Happy New Year!!!!

  5. December 31, 2015 at 12:18

    Thanks for the great pictures and information. Happy New Year!

  6. December 30, 2015 at 09:55

    Thanks so much for the wonderful pictures and updates each week. I love seeing them!!!

  7. December 30, 2015 at 05:43

    Thanks for the great photos. Looks like this is going to be a great year. Wish I were 20 years younger and could take advantage of the great conditions. Keep up the great reports!!

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Last updated: December 30, 2015

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