December 20

Started at lower Solitude ascending to the common trail into Willow continuing to West Monitor bowl. Descended the skier's left shoulder to the flats.


Overcast to partly cloudy with some lingering mid and upper elevation fog banks during the afternoon. Mild temperatures and little wind.

Ascended and descended Will's hill, continuing to the lower meadow.


Snow at the lower elevation was about a foot deep and for the most part without the slab and density inversion, at least, early in the day. Increasing the elevation increased the density inversion and the slab with the depth also increasing to 14-16 inches.

Cornices are quite sensitive, but the resulting crash of a cornice on a steep hillside seems limited to sluffing as we witnessed a couple of times. Upper elevation snow is very stiff and wider skis and snowboards have little impact on deeper layering as they ride on top. Skinnier equipment may have a larger impact.

We did spot a slide over on the southeast facing west Willow ridge.

What appeared to be three slides was, in fact, one slide connected by stress fractures. It appeared that an intense period of snow or some stronger winds overloaded the light density snow, which collapsed and led to the slide on a suncrust.


The suncrust was somewhat fragile with faceted snow under, but it didn't appear that was the cause. The slide was about 200 feet wide and 6-12 inches deep with some small areas a bit deeper.

Ascended the west Willow ridge to upper Beartrap descending and continuing out Beartrap.

Bottom Line:

Snow is mostly stable. A cool night and good refreeze would probably eliminate most hazard leaving some lingering doubts about the older and deeper faceted layering.


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