January 30, 2017
It is like the Sierra of old: a great gleaming white shield dominating the horizon. Do you have a fantasy line? The Sirens are calling. Everything—and I mean everything—is in.
Given what happened this record-setting January, current snowpack looks surprisingly stable (that does not mean safe!). Excluding storm cycles, my primary concerns going forward would be anything involving a significant warm up or heat wave (this could be incredibly destructive) and anything involving either microclimates (esp high-altitude north faces) or localized (likely wind-affected) slabs that could combine with terrain to zap you.
As I see it, those of us who love to ski big lines in the Eastern Sierra now face two mandates: (1) ski our brains out and (2) stay alive. Good luck to all of us as we struggle to contend with this insane beast of a 2016-2017 backcountry season.