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Freezing level, snow level, Whistler

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've been skiing Whistler about 10-15 days/year since moving to Vancouver 4 years ago.

When starting out initially snow conditions didn't really matter, now looking for more off-piste, alpine terrain and trying to wrap my head around predicting conditions.

Last weekend was supposed to be 20cm snow both days, so I booked last minute hotel and headed up. The snow was so wet it was basically rain even higher up the mountain, by late morning if was really slushy, the alpine was closed because with the storm system was windy with low vis at the top, so was basically a terrible day. Skipped the second day (bought some better goretex gear instead).

I'm wondering what is the general rule for freezing level and decent skiing? I read that it snows ~300m below freezing level. If the bottom half of your run is below freezing level will this still be decent (ie between snow and freezing level)?

Any BC locals have a specific freezing level where they won't head up?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I skied top to nearly bottom powder Saturday ( as a (lack of) heaviness guide, it was almost waist deep in places on my 5 year old and she could blast through it), then Sunday did a bunch of awesome fresh track laps on whistler bowl/christmas trees before wind closed the peak, then went to harmony. Was getting a bit wet after lunch.
Guess I must have been at a different whistler

To answer your question, I think the freezing level was reported about 700m Saturday and forecast to rise to 1600 Sunday (which it seems it did, but later than forecast).
Don't really have a cut off freezing level, but if freezing level is below 1200m, raining at the bottom, and not too windy then its probably going to be decent.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Thu 1-02-18 6:34; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for the reply!

Sorry for confusion my 'weekend' was Sunday and Monday. Had a few good runs Sunday morning but we were pretty miserable by 1:30.

This weekend I already had a hotel Sat + Sun night that I can't cancel, freezing levels are reported as 1800m, 1900m and 1700m. I'm guessing I shouldn't be too optimistic. Weather patterns seem to change pretty quickly on the coast too so that's the other factor.

Maybe the new waterproof gear will improve our outlook Smile
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Ah, yes heard Monday wasn't spectacular!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Not looking that great, though winds are light and not heavy snow/rain so alpine should be open
Like you say, weather changes fast - last Sunday was supposed to be raining all day, but actually turned out good (in the morning at least) - even better as I wasn't expecting much!
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To follow-up, weather report changed a few times, ended up being about 1400m on Saturday, 1900m Sunday (skipped the slopes) and 1700 on Monday, and I noticed poor quality snow at around these levels, not just 300m below. Even on the 1700m freezing level day there was some solid skiing at the top of 7th heaven/glacier (visibility permitting)
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