Written by Tuolunme Winter Ranger Laura Pilewski –
YOSEMITE – The weather and ski conditions this week were nearly a carbon copy of last week. We still have not had an extended period of high pressure ridging to bring warm/dry weather to the central Sierra this ski season for more than just a few days at a time.
There were six inches of new snow on our snow stake this morning [April 17], further delaying the corn harvest. However, snow depths and coverage remain excellent in the Tuolumne Meadows area.
Ski conditions this week were a mixed bag of powder, corn, mank and, yes, more powder. For a couple of days this week the overnight low was in the teens and daytime highs were near fifty degrees. This resulted in excellent spring ski conditions where there was firm snow for fast travel on the flatter terrain for most of the day, and some semblance of corn snow on most aspects (except north) below 12,000 feet.
The forecast is calling for even warmer temperatures this week, and as long as the snow surface goes through a good overnight freeze, there should be fine spring skiing to be had.
New snow: 8 inches
Total settled snow depth: 76 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 53°F (April 13)
Low temperature: 15°F (April 12)
Snow removal is continuing on the Tioga Road east of the park boundary. Visitors approaching Tuolumne Meadows from the east should expect bare pavement on Highway 120 possibly as high as Ellery Lake.
There is no estimated opening day for the Tioga Road at this time. Visitors may want to consider using a bicycle to get to the snowline. Please stay well away from snow removal efforts and make sure that the operators of heavy equipment see you before trying to go around them.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
The avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. There is still potential for wind slabs to form at the higher elevations due to the new snow and forecasted winds. Wet slides are also possible as the days get warmer and longer. Visitors should make real-time assessment of conditions as they travel through the wilderness this spring.
Today as the storm cleared we saw an osprey flying over Tuolumne Meadows. Although, there are a few open holes of water, we don’t believe it is fishing season yet. Several other raptors were soaring high among the thermals but it was hard to tell what species they were as they circled thousands of feet above.
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 8 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no phone service in Tuolumne Meadows. We can be contacted regarding winter travel to Tuolumne Meadows via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol.
For those visiting the Tuolumne Ski Hut from the east (only) permits are self-issued at the ski hut. For those entering from other areas, please see https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm or you may contact the wilderness office at 209-372-0740.
Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness!
Follow our blog at https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm.
Laura and Rob Pilewski – Tuolumne Winter Rangers
(Reprinted from https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/update-for-april-17-2019.htm)