Hygrophorus subalpinus  A.H. Sm. (1941)                             *Collections from California

This is one of the classic Californian snowbank Hygrophori. As the pictures suggest it tends to fruit well below the substrate and presents a challenge to be collected clean. It is very possible that we're dealing with a species complex because there are a couple of differing patterns within the collections. Some are chubbier and some more elongated while microscopy doesn't give too many clues. This species is in the group of Hygrophori that may leave a rather evanescent annular zone on the stipe.