Observation: Skyline

Observation Date
01/22/2016
Observer Name
Brett Kobernik

Region:

Location Name or Route
Miller Flat and South then north toward Electric Lake
Weather
Sky
Few
Weather Comments
Nice warm spring-like day.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Upper elevations are variable from the wind with crusts and stout drifts.  Very nice riding conditions remain in the mid elevations.   Just as things were really starting to heat up late morning, enough thin clouds moved in to keep the snow from becoming too damp.  You will find melt freeze crusts on a number of the sunnier aspects.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
With a handfull of sled triggered avalanches breaking to the ground this week, I went looking at the more shallow snowpack locations where weak snow still exists near the ground.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

For this weekend, the biggest threat will be in areas where the recent wind has deposited snow and formed fresh drifts.  East facing aspects are the most likely spots to trigger something.  The more shallow locations and a recent wind load are even more suspect.  The recent wind slabs are becoming more stubborn so this may give you a false sense of security in that you might not see any cracking or avalanches until you trigger one.

Comments

When weak sugary faceted snow is producing avalanches, all you can do is give it time to settle.  Keep your slope angles under 35 degrees in steepness and avoid obviously wind drifted terrain.

Video

Below is an example of a wind loaded slope which is likely to avalanche.

Tricky to nail down the overall avalanche danger.  Out of wind affected terrain, the danger is LOW to MODERATE.  Wind loaded slopes are definitely suspect still and deserve a CONSIDERABLE danger.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates