Observation: Mineral Basin

Observation Date
02/13/2018
Observer Name
B

Region:

Location Name or Route
Mineral Basin: upper and lower
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
South
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Light and variable south winds which began to accelerate slightly by the end of the day. Early morning clear skies once again gave way to increasing clouds and overcast skies by 1300 with occasional scattered late in the afternoon. Morning temperatures were cold with signficant warming by mid day before the cloud cover limited intense warming. Above 9000 feet temperatures appeared to remain below freezing on the shady aspects.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Melt-Freeze Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Excellent riding on NE, N and NW aspects in Sundays latest 6 inch event. We have turned the corner with regard to low angle slopes with aspects on the lower half of the compass from ENE, E, SE, SW, and WSW. The heighth of the sun angle is now favoring a spring like radiation effect on these off aspects, and as a result warming of the snow surface and resulting m/f crusts are with us for the rest of the season. Steeper slope angles and an increasing need to be focusing on NE, N and NW aspects for cold snow riding is essential. Unfortunately, this is exactly where our weakest snow is still lingering.  Bottomless riding was found on these colder aspects, yet early season conditions are still in place, and care should be taken around steep cliff rollovers (and any rocks) due to the thin cover. Unfortunately the 6 inches from Sunday was not enough to keep you off the old tracks and the m/f crusts on the off aspects, and challenging riding was experienced on these aspects. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Mid moring warming once again promoted wet loose potential on SE and S steep aspects with roller balls and human induced minimal wet activity in the new snow. Poor snowpack structure continues to be observed with easy shears noted at the old snow/new snow interface with NSF's appearing to be the culprit layer on the shady aspects. In other hasty pits mid pack moderate shears were noted. It appears we are destined to be waiting for a signficant load to set us into another significant avalanche cycle. Until then, the stability remains fair to good as we do not have a signficant slab in place to get the persistent weak layers reactive. Of note, several very steep lines were observed being ridden through shallow snow/cliff line ascent zones without incident.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

See above.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Loose Dry Snow
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments

Overnight winds appeared to be enough to get D1 loose snow natural avalanches in steep NE facing terrain at upper elevations. 

Loose wet previously noted.

Increasing prefrontal SW winds forecast, and there appears to be ample snow available for transport, so wind slab at the upper elevations, and even mid elevation ridgelines may present problems for Wednesday in steep facing terrain on the shady aspects. This danger will be increasing throughout the day on Wednesday and into Thursday. 

Danger appeared to be low on Tuesday with it rising to moderate as the winds and new snow accumulate Wednesday into Thursday. The forecast for up to 8 inches with the combination of wind loading may be enough to get the persistent weak layers reactive; and the possibility to get an avalanche cycle active on Thursday may be likely in these isolated areas. 

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Low
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates