Saturday, December 30, 2017

20171230 East Side Snow Talk- First Edition

Temperature forecast for the last hours of 2017...The East Side difference is clear. Brrrr!

We continue the pattern of high pressure followed by a walloping, then high pressure followed by a walloping. I like. The last walloping 12/17-20 featured 2-4" of h20 and decreasing density snow, with diminishing winds. A decent snow producer for the E Side, but not great. 8" higher density snow in Dertown...

The one ending today (12/30) appears to be more like 2-3" h20 and kinda sloppy with flip flopping temps. The reason for this was;
1- The upper airmass temperature came in mild then slowly warmed, slowly cooled, then warmed, then cooled. 
2- Cold air pooled on the E Side of the Mtns remained in place during most of the precipitation, but then was scoured out by strong Westerly flow at about the same time as the second warm up in the airmass described in 1.
The result: Not a perfect pow ski setup...depending on location of course, but a great snow producer for the E Side...about 16" for Dertown. The storms final warm up created variable upper snowpack conditions ranging from a thick wet snow layer to a thin breakable rain crust. This is likely to be found 5-15cms beneath the surface. The trend is that further south, like Blewett Pass this layer will be thick and wet... and probably supportable, once it freezes that is. Blewett is still a no go in my book due to lack of coverage. As one goes north this crust will diminish in thickness. Trinity, the remote mining village at 3,000ft picked up nearly 20" to their overall HS, now at 54"! Mazama and the NE Cascades may have been spared altogether. So has Dertown and likely other low valleys. E Side valleys and access roads have plenty of snow to recreate. Closer to the crest like E Side of Stevens Pass will probably have that breakable, shin slicing, pizza cutting crust that I'm talking about. 
Oh, and the winds ripped from the West last night. Luckily they are beginning to slow down now and should taper as the day goes on. Check out that gust of 118mph up at Mission Ridge at 1am!  

As the storm finishes up we're headed back to the high pressure/inversion. Ice climbs should be coming into shape, the snowpack will need some time to settle out fresh wind and storm slabs. The potential remains for deeper weak layers like the funky Solstice crust/NSF and 12/15 SH. Assess, then step out there my friend, step out cautiously. Happy Deep Winter and 2018!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Spindrift Couloir

Spindrift + from Matt Primomo on Vimeo.

Monday, December 7, 2015

About Matt

Matt grew up in upstate NY, and knew that moving west was the only option after tasting a couple of classic 16" storms followed by blue sky days in the Sierra during a highschool trip with friends.
He worked his way up from the bottom, working as a lifty, then going to school (Colorado Mountain College-Leadville), then as a ski patroller and some ski guiding, back to school (Univesity of Colorado), and eventually got a job guiding for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. This put him at the forefront of guiding in the USA, and he was fortunate to guide people from all around up the classic peaks of the NW and Alaska.

The love of snow covered mountains was irresistable, and he landed an avalanche forecasting job during the summer months in Chile.

Matt grew to not only love Chile, but he basically became one (ha!) while spending 5 years living there, avalanche forecasting, teaching, and exploring the ski potential. From the first year, friends would visit and he had a blast introducing them to the people, the mountains, and the food. In the process he has logged many first descents with friends from near and far. It is only natural that he will begin to offer these services to those who would like to join him on truly amazing ski adventures, and immerse oneself in a new culture.

In 2015 with 11 back to back winters, he was ready for a Northern Hemisphere summer and wanted to spend more time alpine and rock climbing. Matt landed a job at Exum Guides in the Tetons, and joined the family of the USA's first mountain guide service.

In the winter you may find him Avalanche Forecasting for the Utah Department of Transportation, teaching AIARE avalanche education courses with White Pine Touring, or guiding skiing or ice climbing with Utah Mountain Adventures. If he's not out working, he's out playing or training with friends or his girlfriend Stella. Please don't hesitate to get in touch!