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Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 6:48 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg

Today

 

Tomorrow

Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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Summary

Our snowpack in the Steamboat zone is faring better than some of our zone neighbors. It is still early winter though and there are weak, sugary layers buried underneath recent storm snow. Don't trust an early-season snowpack and take the time to evaluate the snow before committing to any steep slope. You should look for, and avoid, areas where there is a cohesive slab of snow, greater than about 10" thick, sitting on top of a layer of sugary snow that formed prior to last Friday's storm.

The Friends of CAIC are hosting the 10th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash on December 2, 2017 in Breckenridge The funds from this event go to support the CAIC and these backcountry forecasts. It’s an event not to miss. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: https://adecadedeep.eventbrite.com.

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: Mod(Level 2) Possible to trigger an avy on slopes west->north->east. Evaluate steep slopes before committing. Nov 22, 6:46 AM
@CAIC: MOD(L2) Near & Above TL Look for cracking collapsing & previous Avys Limit risk by avoiding NW->N->NE NR/ATL Nov 21, 7:31 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 11:51 AM by Brian Lazar Statewide Weather Forecast
  Wednesday Night Thursday Thursday Night
Temperature (ºF) 27 to 32 38 to 43 28 to 33
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 10 to 20 15 to 25
Wind Direction WNw W WSW
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Archived Forecasts

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Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 7:24 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg Statewide Weather Forecast  

So far the Steamboat and Flat Tops zone looks to have a better snowpack than adjacent zones. At this point in time we have limited data and it is very early in the season so the jury is still out. A skeptical view of the snowpack is always a good idea when the snowpack is in its infancy. What we have found so far is that a faceted layer of snow near the ground is much stronger than expected. In some places, such as around Buffalo Pass, it has been hard to find the existence of this layer at all. Nevertheless, we do have weak layers in the snowpack and they will command our attention. This will be the case until we get enough snow to build a strong and deep snowpack and see these weak layers strengthen further.

Initial indications are that our layer of concern should be a faceted layer that is buried beneath the storm snow of the last 5 or so days. On Tuesday, on Rabbit Ears Pass, stability tests showed us that this weak layer can propagate a fracture. In most areas there is not a thick enough slab on top of this weak layer to be a problem but it is something to keep an eye on for the future.

For the time being you should evaluate steep slopes for the presence of weak, faceted layers beneath slabs. More importantly, heed any warning signs of an unstable snowpack such as shooting cracks and sounds of the snowpack collapsing. If you are getting out and about, please send us your observations. Your observations are much appreciated and will help us to paint a more accurate picture of the early-season snowpack in the zone.


  • On 11/21/17 we observed two distinct faceted layers in the snowpack around Rabbit Ears Pass. (full)
  • On 11/21/17 we observed two distinct faceted layers in the snowpack around Rabbit Ears Pass. (full)
  • A snowpit from Buffalo Pass on 11/20 (full)

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Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
No relevant backcountry observations found for this forecast

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Tue Nov 21 Jason Konigsberg, Jeff Davis No No Yes (2)
View Mon Nov 20 Eric Deering No No Yes (3)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Steamboat Lake State Park Wed Nov 22 8:00 PM 35 97 1 349 4 -
Crosho Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 42 - - - - -
Ripple Creek Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 36 - - - - -
Storm Peak Observatory Wed Nov 22 7:30 PM 32 100 9 306 22 -
Trapper Lake Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 39 - - - - -
Zirkel Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 39 - - - - 1.0

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