Surface Hoar

We may not have enough snow to open up quite yet, but there sure are some nice looking spots out there on the mountain.  Here is a photo of some surface hoar glistening in the afternoon sun.  Surface hoar is formed on cold and clear nights.  This occurs when moisture within the snowpack travels upward from the warm basal layers and ground layer below up towards the dark and starry skies above.  Calm weather also helps these snow crystals grow.  Surface hoar can be a notorious weak layer in the snowpack when left undisturbed.  It may present some challenges to avalanche forecasting and hazard mitigation, but it sure is an amazing sight.