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Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 6:47 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.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

It's early winter and the snow coverage is still thin across much of the zone. The few areas that have decent snow coverage are unfortunately also the slopes with the highest risk of avalanches. The most suspect slopes are near and above treeline and face northwest, north, and northeast. You should either avoid these slopes entirely or make sure that a cohesive slab of snow isn't lying on top of sugary snow near the ground. Sounds of collapsing (whumpfing noises) and shooting cracks are sure signs of an unstable snowpack.

Today it is also possible to trigger an avalanche in wind-drifted snow. Strong northwesterly wind near the Continental Divide is drifting snow onto easterly slopes and forming slabs 1 to 2 feet deep. Pay attention to drum-like or hollow sounds underfoot and avoid slopes where you observe active wind loading.

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)You can trigger in an avy that breaks at the ground on nrly slopes. Also watch for fresh wind slab Nov 22, 6:44 AM
@CAIC: MOD(L2) Near & Above TL Look for cracking collapsing & previous Avys Limit risk by avoiding NW->NE->E NR/ATL Nov 21, 7:32 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
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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.

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
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
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 42 to 47 27 to 32
Wind Speed (mph) 8 to 18 8 to 18 12 to 22
Wind Direction WNW W W
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Archived Forecasts

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Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 7:05 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg Statewide Weather Forecast  

A widespread layer of depth hoar is found near the ground on almost all northerly slopes in the Vail and Summit County zone. If you find a cohesive slab of snow greater than about 12 inches thick, you will be able to trigger an avalanche that breaks near the ground. The slab is the variable right now and the lack of a slab on some northerly slopes is keeping the avalanche danger from being at a higher level. If you are planning on riding on northerly slopes today you should carefully evaluate the existence of the slab and not the weak layer, as we know that the weak layer exists.

The snowpack on southerly slopes, at all elevations, consists of storm snow from the past few days sitting directly on the ground with no basal weak layer. The main hazard in these areas will be more the risk of hitting rocks than the risk of avalanches. The exception to this is southeasterly slopes close to ridgelines that have received large amounts of wind-drifted snow since Tuesday morning. Although southeast and maybe even easterly slopes have a better overall snowpack structure than northerly slopes, it will still be possible for you to trigger an avalanche in wind-drifted snow that can be big enough to result in injury.

Weather over the next few days will do little to change the avalanche danger. The sensitivity to triggering a Persistent Slab avalanche will continue to decrease and signs of instability will become less obvious but the avalanche danger will likely remain at Moderate (Level 2) through the weekend.


  • Snowpit from Outward Bound Bowl, SE aspect > TL. Pit location is just below the ridge top in an area that tends to get relatively large amount of wind loading. (full)
  • Poor structure on northerly slopes in the Vail and Summit Co zone. Certain areas lack a slab on top, but if you find it, you will find avalanches as well. (full)
  • Hard to see the Crown in this picture or much of the debris. This is where the wind slab avalanche occurred and ran into the bowl. Debris did not reach bottom of bowl but piled up high among rocks and trees. (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 Wed Nov 22 Brad Kovalchick No No Yes (4)
View Tue Nov 21 Kelli Rohrig No No No
View Mon Nov 20 Jason Konigsberg, Jeff Davis No No Yes (2)
View Mon Nov 20 Ron Simenhois No No Yes (2)
View Mon Nov 20 Chris Hluchan No No Yes (1)
View Sun Nov 19 Brad Kovalchick 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
A-basin Sa-summit Wed Nov 22 8:00 PM 27 100 25 324 46 -
Copper Mountain Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 36 - - - - -
Fremont Pass Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 34 - - - - -
Grizzly Peak Wed Nov 22 7:00 PM 35 - - - - -

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