SME snow report
11 February, 2017

...we had way too much fun skiing great lines in super deep and light powder


Hello Everybody,

Last week started out with good weather, followed by the most perfect snow-storm that covered the entire Durrand Glacier area with a blanket of super light powder. These conditions allowed us to keep skiing bigger ski routes in the alpine and steep runs below tree-line. We also skied to the Empire Lake Chalet. Mid week wind kicked in and has formed windslabs in wind exposed areas of the higher alpine. We reduced our ambitious ski runs to less demanding and exposed terrain. In the trees the wind had no effect and we kept skiing some of the greatest tree-runs anywhere, steep and deep. Thursday changed it all. One of the biggest snow-storm took care of the stable avalanche conditions and the overall avalanche hazard started to rise. By Thursday evening the Durrand Glacier avalanche hazard reached HIGH in all three elevation zones (alpine, tree-line, trees). We restricted skiing to less steep runs in the trees and lower alpine. Despite all this, fun kept inspiring us. All ski guests respected the growing avalanche issue we faced, enjoyed the runs we have been able to ski and had the best time ever.

Some of the ski runs we skied last week: Forbidden Glacier, Centrale Glacier, Durrand Glacier, Downie Soft, Tumbledown East Slopes, Ledges, Morning Glory, Boogie Basin, Missing Jack, Holy Grail, Swiss Miss, Elevator, Deep Powder, Twin Falls and so on.

Keep skiing the inspiring powder.

Ruedi Beglinger

Ruedi Beglinger
IFMGA Mountain Guide / SME

SME January videos:
  Canada's Durrand Glacier, White Smoke (January and February)
  Steep in January, Canada's Durrand Glacier

Durrand Glacier Snowpack  
Durrand Glacier
elevation 1946 m (tree-line)
340 cm snowpack.
Very deep, light powder.
Empire Lake Chalet
elevation 2118 m (lower alpine)
approx. 450 cm
Very deep, light powder.
Mt. Moloch Chalet
elevation 2205 m (lower alpine)
approx. 450 cm
Very deep, light powder.
above elevation 2500 m
500 cm to 600 cm
Deep powder, wind effects along alpine ridges and mtn. tops.

Present Avalanche Hazard, February 11, 2017:

Below Tree-line: CONSIDERABLE (3) in all aspects
Tree-line: CONSIDERABLE (3) in all aspects
Alpine: HIGH (4) in all aspects

Avalanche Concerns:

With the recent snow storm we have received larger amounts of storm snow, combined with strong wind in the higher alpine. This has formed widespread soft slabs at tree-line and in the trees. In the alpine we observed deep soft slabs and wind slabs along wind exposed areas. At this time the upper snowpack is reacting easily to skier traffic (cracking, some shearing and wumphing) and natural avalanches of moderate size have been observed. Despite the present high avalanche hazard, the good news is that the Durrand Glacier snow-pack has no persistent weak layers or deep persistent layers in the mid and deeper snowpack. The present storm snow instability should settle out within a few days. However, in the meantime we keep skiing less exposed terrain in superb powder snow.

  • February 11, 2017 - Skiing at the Durrand Glacier Chalet
  • February 11, 2017 - Skiing at the Durrand Glacier Chalet
  • February 11, 2017 - Skiing at the Durrand Glacier Chalet

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