New snow: 35"
Total settled snow depth: 57” (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 53°F (March 2nd)
Low temperature: 5°F (March 8th)
Ski Conditions and Weather
This week started with spring like weather and ski conditions and ended with a welcome return to winter. An impressive 35” of new snow fell in Tuolumne Meadows over a four day period. The bulk of the precipitation came during an “atmospheric river” event (a.k.a the “Pineapple Express”) when 18” of new snow fell during a 12 hour period.This was a much needed deposit in the California water bank. Needless to say, the travel conditions have become much slower and powder ski conditions are back! The upper elevations saw a lot of wind with this storm so visitors to the high country should anticipate wind effected snow. The snowfall started out wet with rain falling at 8500’ initially. A cold front was ushered in with the bulk of the moisture, however, allowing 3’+ to fall above 8000’ in this part of Yosemite. Visitors should expect soft snow and trail breaking when venturing into the wilderness this week. Bring your ski wax and a scraper. Once the sun hits the snow this time of year, conditions vary greatly according to aspect.
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.
Primary avalanche concerns this week are wind slabs on steep north and east aspects. The winds really came up following the period of intense snowfall on Sunday morning and impressive snow plumes were observed at the ridgetops. At middle elevations in the Tuolumne area, since the storm came in wet and warm and went out dry and cold, a good bond was formed between the old snow surface and the new snow.
During one of the many snow squalls this week, a Great Horned Owl perched in a snag just outside our residence. Both in Tuolumne Meadows and near Mono Pass, new and old bobcat tracks were seen.
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open! 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.
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers