Observation: Girdwood

Location: Max's

Route & General Observations

We toured up Max’s, uncertain that we would be able to find good snow at the top due to the breakable crust reported throughout our zone. The clouds socked in and we had poor visibility throughout the day so viewing avalanche activity among surrounding areas was challenging. We had breakable crust up to about 2000′. Our pit at 2450′ had buried surface hoar about 2′ deep though we were unable to trigger any failure on the layer, or any other layer for that matter. Great skiing from the top of Max’s back down to the forest, where we then survival skied back to our car.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

We experienced overcast conditions and light snow at the beginning of the day. Throughout the day the snow accumulation rate would fluctuate and by the end of the day about 1 cm of new snow had accumulated at lower elevations. Temperatures hovered just below freezing levels allowing wet snow to accumulate. We had calm wind.

Snow surface

Through the trees up to about 1500' we had icy surface conditions that made travel challenging. When we got out of the forest, snow conditions softened enough for easy travel but the surface was breakable crust. This crust was present to about 2000' were then dry surface snow made for some excellent skiing conditions.


The snowpack condition looks to be relatively right side up EXCEPT for the surface hoar that we were able to find buried about 2' deep. However, this layer was not reactive in our ECT test (ECTX). Refer to snow pilot image for more information.

Photos & Video
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