Taos Region

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Taos Region

Postby JBella » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:35 pm

First (?) snowfall of the season on Wheeler during the evening of October 4th or early the 5th. Pics taken about 10 am on the 5th from Angel Fire after the clouds and fog cleared out

October 5 Wheeler.jpg
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October 5 Wheeler Snow.jpg
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Re: Taos Region

Postby Jasper » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:36 pm

Nice shot. You are always ready for it!
Go when the going is good.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby danshorb » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:03 pm

Taos Highline Cam today. Just a dusting, but with the wind there'll be some pockets.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby danshorb » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:18 am

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Well, well, well. Looks like this one might stick. Coming in on an east wind (note the east side of the trees are clear of rime), so loading will be upper west crestlines, although the winds should change to NW later today.
Getting more than the San Juans on this one.

https://www.skitaos.com/ski-ride/cams-conditions
Last edited by danshorb on Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:32 pm

This storm was quick and started strong, tapering off now as the jet stream is pulling the northerly moisture flow slightly east of the front range. From town to treeline at about 1pm snowfall total range; 7k 2", 9k 3-6", 12k 5-7" with reports of up to 10" near the Bull of the Woods/Gold Hill saddle. Winds were generally steady but light throughout the morning, from the west and north-northwest. Clouds are burning off above the Rio Grande gorge and lifting to the higher half of the mountains, temps are warming enough to melt the snow below 8k.

Typical seasonal moisture flow from the northwest is continuing, another round of precipitation could arrive Monday night or Tuesday with modest accumulations in the southern Sangres. Temps should be cold enough through the weekend for this storm layer to settle and stick on north and east aspects and shaded terrain features across other slopes.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby danshorb » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:56 pm

As we begin the season, I'm putting away my paraglider (kinda, not really). Here's a couple things I try to keep in mind for framing wind direction when flying, that might help predicting windloading/cornicing:
First, I suggest getting the Windy App on your phone if you don't already have it.
Second, I pay attention to the 12k and 14k level winds, not just the Jet and surface winds. There are forecasts for these.
I keep in mind that air masses often have "sheer" boundary layers in them which can fluctuate 180 degrees from the layer below and above, so what we feel at 8k may not be what we would feel at 12k or 14k. Sometimes people think of air masses as blobs of jelly, when in actuality they act more like a layered cake in which directions and speeds can vary greatly. Typically once I'm below ridgelines, I know I'm feeling some version of wind that is affected by terrain. This can be particularly true in mountain valleys that produce both heated thermic flows and localized "splashing" of meteo winds. Aviation forecasts can often give us ground dwellers the best ridgetop forecasts. So I keep in mind that mid-elevation ground observations are not always good data points for ridgetop wind directions.
Today, most models, particularly the NAM3, RAP, and HRRR predicted what the highline cam showed at the 12k level, an East in the mid-teens from this morning then NW this evening. At least at the 12k level. (You can guess this by looking up the Beauford Scale: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale )... For those of you that may be unfamiliar with these NAM RAP HRRR models, the RAP and HRRR are "rapid refreshing models" that produce rather accurate wind speeds and directions. Additionally, we can generally look at air pressure isobars and figure out general wind directions. 'Winds aloft,' which is what most ridgetop winds follow, typically follow "meteo" flows, which are mostly caused by pressure gradients in an air mass. As a high pressure comes in from the north, it follows that the wind direction will now start coming from that direction (at least at high altitudes).
Regarding "splashing of meteo-winds," you can almost imagine that in an FAST easterly flow coming up over the Wheeler/Frazier divide, like a rock in a river, the air could conceivably hit the Lake Fork side of Williams, and swirl northward around and down toward TSV, and could even create a giant eddy that flows backup into the Bull of the Woods area. Basic point is that if we know the meteo flow, as we travel through the backcountry, we can benefit from imagining the mountains as rocks sticking up into the meteo-wind river, and begin to analyze the splashing/eddying effects the mountains cause, and THEN, perhaps guess are windloading of snowpack.
Jet Stream pressures create many of our meteo flows. As Jared mentions jet stream is switching to the NW. Here is a good page to bookmark to see this: http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/jetstrea ... _fcst.html


HRR11.JPG
HRRR 11am, shows consistancy with the East flow wind effects in the snow around the camera.
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HRR3.JPG
HRRR 5pm shows that it will crossload from the NW as Jared is reporting.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:16 am

danshorb wrote:... Regarding "splashing of meteo-winds," you can almost imagine that in an FAST easterly flow coming up over the Wheeler/Frazier divide, like a rock in a river, the air could conceivably hit the Lake Fork side of Williams, and swirl northward around and down toward TSV, and could even create a giant eddy that flows backup into the Bull of the Woods area. ...


Similar to what happens on Wolf Creek Pass, this is a common occurrence on, and cause of often deeper snowfall amounts along Bull of the Wood's northern ridge
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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:29 am

Started snowing early sometime before 4, at 6 there was light but steady snowfall above 10k that gradually increased in intensity during the past few hours. Southwest flow with the storm tracking west-east, blustery west winds at times throughout the night are continuing now with stronger gusts. Snowed about two inches so far, small flakes and feels pretty wet. There's likely going to be some significant drifting and wind-loaded terrain features when this storm pulls out of the mountains this afternoon.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:18 pm

Storm totals 20-30"

Encountered on November 22nd, R1D2 release occurred during the storm either the night of November 21st or early November 22nd. Likely initiated as snow sloughing off from cliffs at the top of the chute or falling from a tree near 11,800', it appeared to have ran on old faceted snow near the ground, down a swail-like drainage feature on the north side (skier's right) side of chute to between 11,200' and 11,100', then fanned out and deposited debris approx. 150' wide, 20-30" deep with piles up to about 48" on the uphill sides of some small to medium size trees. Debris consisted of soft chunks of snow covered by a few inches of fresher windblown powder and dense enough to support a skier's weight, while the snow on either side was softer and as we approached our skis were deeper. Along the north flank of the slide grasses and brush was bent over from snow sliding over it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKVNw17 ... e=youtu.be

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Deepest snow we came across was 25 inches settled at the bottom of the Peace Chute yesterday morning. There wasn't much traffic on the William's Lake trail, we started breaking trail about 8:30 and headed towards the Ring Finger. Some useful observations from our tour - below 11,000 feet was mostly storm snow above bare ground, we skinned up to the south side of the chute's runout and made a long traverse to the north across the apron where we found a mix of windblown snow and semi stiff but soft slabs sitting atop dry powder. As we approached the middle finger we observed the small R1D2 slide mentioned above. Then we switched back to the south across to the far side of the ring finger where we topped out just above the outcrops at the middle of the chute, stopped there when we observed propogating glide cracks. Pics below are from that site 11,400', dug around a bit and easily sheared columns failed upon isolation on a 7-10cm layer of advanced 1-3mm column and irregular flat facets, this layer from October and early November's snow exists on scattered, shaded north and easterly aspects across the region. It will be something to consider and look for in the near future, and as another round of snow arrives monday or tuesday.

Riding down was great considering this is the first storm that brought snow deep enough to ride, a few really nice turns in deep snow at middle of the chute, then a bunch of turns hitting ground but still surfy down the apron. Most of the trail was rideable back to the Bav.

Snow continued throughought the day yesterday and brought a few more inches, some friends just hiked up and rode the Ring Finger again today, top to bottom - got a view of them riding from the ridge webcam and it looked a lot deeper today

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDj375A ... e=youtu.be

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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:27 pm

Another 4-6" today with moderate winds and strong gusts at times. First wave of this storm cycle is moving east of the mountains. Cold but not bitter temps throughout the day look to continue tonight, hopefull the sun warms things up a bit tomorrow ahead of another wave of precipitation so we get some decent snow Thursday.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby JBella » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:40 am

Staying low to avoid the holiday crowds on the ski area roads, according to a friend there's 7" on the William's Lake trail and light winds, said the snow is dense but not quite packable.

Looks like this storm is going to produce some respectable accumulations tonight and tomorrow.

Woohoo? Should be just enough to cover a lot of rocks for our boards to find. Above 10.5 or 11k on north and easterly aspects that old faceted snow is doing it's duty of lifting the heavier storm slabs above the ground. Winds should pick up tonight, moving snow onto denser slabs in the upper layers.

While there will be some decent lines to ride in the near future, the poorly structured snowpack that is currently developing should be treated with respect and meticulously assessed while travelling in these mountains. Avalanche potential is on the rise, as is the destructive potential which will accompany any avalanche that does occur.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby Marc » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:07 am

Comparing to previous years, these last couple of cycles have produced more SWE in a single event than any recent storm events, one on top of another. The spatial variability that was distributed in the initial snow falls that was producing advanced facets may see a slowing in the process, but it doesn't mean it's disappeared...yet. Clearly, the new storm snow avi cycle, coupled with sustained moderate winds above tree line have produced some triggerable strong over weak layers. The ski patrol supports this with smaller, more localized slides being triggered with explosives.

The heavy nature of the snowpack, and the lack of homogeneity throughout the early snow provides some easier prediction, very similar to a maritime snow climate. Triggering one of these may not be a big deal unless you get caught up in it. Hopefully, this will slow the faceting process down on basil grains and will provide for the blanket everyone wishes for. The good news is that avi danger can settle out quickly with these kinds of events.

Looking forward, it seems line the next cycle may come from as far south as the previous one did, which could bring more of the same higher density precipitation. Although we typically see this in the Spring most years in NM, it's not totally uncommon in late Autumn. Rain events with warm weather like this are also possible.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby brock » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:27 pm

Looks like there may be some snow falling Thursday, I was thinking of heading out toward Williams Lake on Friday morning for a lap or two. Does that seem reasonable? This is my first fall. I had some nice trips out in the spring but it's a different ball game now it sounds like. I'm doing my avy 1 and rescue course at TSV in a couple of weeks and hope to learn much more at that time.
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Re: Taos Region

Postby Marc » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:45 pm

That tour shouldn't be much of an issue, Brock. There's usually someone on the trail walking their dog, snowshoeing, or skiing/boarding these days. With the good base it should be a nice outing.
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