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Friday, March 17, 2017

Sublime Sublimated Sugar Snow

It has not snowed or rained on Kodiak for a month.  We got our last significant snowfall on the 16th of February! It has also been cold so we have not lost much of the snow that we did have.  But around town it has gotten icier and icier, and the snow has slowly disappeared as it evaporated in the cold wind.  The technical word for evaporating to a gas from a solid without going through the liquid form is sublimate.  Our snow and ice has been sublimating (not melting).

Today for the first time in ages I decided to try skiing up on high.  I took the dogs and my skate skis up to the pass and headed on up into the high country behind the ski chalet.  It was to be a crust cruising experience.  I was surprised to find a 'sort of' powder in gullies and in the lee of trees or slopes.  After so long without new snow I had expected to find only hard crust or ice.  And of course I did find areas of ice and wind effected crust, but not nearly as much as I expected.

What I did find was a weird sort of sugar powder snow - snow and even crust that had sublimated.  It seems like powder but is more granular like sugar, and if you look close there are no intact snowflakes.  I call it 'sublimated sugar snow' - my very own technical term, and it is sublime for skate skiing.  The dogs and I had a good time.  Patrick

This was my view after a particularly spectacular wipe out

Nothing sublime about this snow - this snow is wind 'effected'

Tankie was lagging a bit near the end of the ski

That's Pyramid on the left and Barometer in the distance on the right, and Brewster too!

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