• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 6:38 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg

Today

 

Tomorrow

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.   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.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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Summary

The first in a series of storms is now exiting the state. In the wake of this storm we are left with 2 to 4 inches of new snow and some strong northerly ridgetop winds. The new snow will be harmless in sheltered areas, but you should use caution on southerly slopes near ridgetop where the wind is drifting snow into thicker slabs. Pay attention to, and approach with caution, slopes that are currently wind loading. Although avalanches that you may trigger in wind-drifted snow will be relatively small, getting knocked of your feet and sliding down a slick slope could be consequential.

The Friends of CAIC have launched their spring fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $50,000 to support avalanche forecasting and education in Colorado. Every dollar counts. Donate today and support your avalanche center! https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: MOD(L2) Watch out above treeline for newly formed slabs of wind-drifted snow on southerly slopes. Mar 24, 6:53 AM
@CAIC: MOD(L2) Transition day. Warm and windy with wet avy potential today shifting to cooler and stormier tonight. Mar 23, 7:04 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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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

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wet Slab avalanches occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoid avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, or during rain-on-snow events.

Avalanche Problem

 
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Above Treeline
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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.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 4:27 AM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Temperature (ºF) 35 to 40 18 to 23 25 to 30
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 5 to 15
Wind Direction WSW W NW
Sky Cover Increasing Overcast Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 2 to 4 0 to 2

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:23 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg Statewide Weather Forecast  

Wet avalanche issues will finally come to a halt today as colder air pours into the state. With the surface snow re-freezing, prior to new snow falling, our snowpack has "locked up" and for today we will shift back to dry avalanche issues.

Snow amounts of 2 to 4 inches will not cause any avalanche concerns in sheltered areas. On southerly slopes the wind may drift the new snow into slabs 8 to 10 inches thick. With slick and icy surfaces underneath, these slabs will not bond well to the older snow and will likely be sensitive to the weight of a rider. Any avalanche triggered in wind-drifted snow will be small, but these avalanches could be harmful if you are traveling in more extreme terrain. 

Looking at current satellite imagery, we will see some clearing this afternoon as the low-pressure system moves east into Kansas. Anytime we have a combination of new snow and the the strong March sun we could see some small Loose Wet avalanches. Colder air today may counteract the sun, but it is something to keep in mind while traveling in the backcountry today.

Additional small storms will roll through the state this week with minimal impacts to avalanche conditions in the Vail and Summit County zone. The pattern of a few inches of snow contributing to small Wind Slab avalanches and then a day of settled weather with warming and the possibility of small Loose Wet avalanches will continue for the next week or so.


  • Small Wind Slab avalanches are possible on southerly slopes near ridgetop. (full)
  • Small natural Wind Slab avalanche. (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 Thu Mar 23 Joe Schmitt No No No

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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 Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 23 42 5 311 9 1.0
Copper Mountain Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 20 - - - - -
Fremont Pass Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 19 - - - - -
Grizzly Peak Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 23 - - - - -
Hoosier Pass Sat Mar 25 3:00 AM 21 - 3 21 5 -
Vail Mountain Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 29 - - - - -

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