Okay, don’t panic too much. It’s raining. It’s warm. It is going to be interesting.
As far as the weather goes, the last couple of forecasts have pulled down both the amount of rain (0.1 to 0.25″) and the overnight temperatures (in the 33˚ range, yes, that’s right, 33˚). But the rub is that the snow may be quite a bit colder. The underlying snowpack is very cold—it was -20 in Hayward earlier this week, and -13 even after the most recent snow—and the Birkie hasn’t groomed the snow on top to attempt to insulate the base.
In other words, East Coast conditions. So what might this mean? If there is enough warm temperatures and rain, the entire snowpack may transform and soften. But it might not get quite so warm and the top of the pack may transform while the bottom stays a bit more frozen. And in either case, even if it doesn’t drop quite to freezing on Friday night, if it’s calm enough the temperature of the snow may fall enough to freeze it up, which may vary over different parts of the course. The cold base and cold ground will radiate cold temperatures through the base and perhaps in to the air slightly above, and in sheltered areas the snow could freeze up quite nicely. It’s certainly possible to have packed, icy conditions even with temperatures above freezing.
Or it could be a slushy mess. And if the temperature only goes to 36 or 37 during the race and the sun doesn’t come out (likely) then it might stay pretty solid through the race. All things considered, this would not be the worst outcome given the weather. We’ll see at the start line.