New snow: 3 inches
Total settled snow depth: 45 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 52 degrees F (March 26)
Low temperature: 6 degrees F (March 28)
Ski Conditions and Weather
Temperatures were above average again this week and for the most part it was dry. Ski conditions continue to be spring-like in the Tuolumne Meadows area and more winter-like at the higher elevations. South aspects have begun to melt out below 9,000 feet, otherwise above 9,000 feet there is good corn skiing on sunny days. Soft, windblown, powdery snow can still be found in sheltered areas on north aspects. The meadows, drainages, and road are set up for fast travel during the cooler times of the day. The snow has been getting wet and slow in the afternoons as daytime highs have been near 50 degrees F. Expect good snow coverage above the Snow Creek Bridge to the west and above the Warren Fork to the east.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions
For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.
Overall, the avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. We did observe an avalanche at Olmsted Point this week that put a good amount of debris on the Tioga Road and the slope below. Although it occurred over a week ago, visitors should still be cautious when travelling during the heat of the day on and below slopes that are receiving lots of solar radiation this time of year as the angle of the sun increases.
In addition to the bird species seen last week, large flocks of dark-eyed juncos have been foraging on the newly exposed ground especially on the south facing aspects. In the Snow Flat area, Williamson’s Sapsuckers’ pterodactyl-like call can be heard at dawn and dusk. They were seen flying from snag to snag trying to find just the right branch that would produce just the right sound for its drumming.
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is still open; however the Snow Creek Cabin closes for the season on April 3, 2016. There is 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 phone service at the ski hut.
Happy Spring Skiing!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers