• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
  • Forecast Discussion
  • Observations & Weather Data

Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 6:23 AM
Issued by: Mike Cooperstein

Today

 

Tomorrow

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

Small wet avalanches should be the only avalanche problem today. These avalanches should be relatively easy to avoid by staying ahead of the sun. Start early on east-facing aspects and move west as the sun tracks across the sky. If you see small wet avalanches, roller balls, or pinwheels it is time to move to a cooler aspect. You can test the snow stability by stepping off your skis, board, or machine. If you sink deeper than about the top of your boots, larger and more dangerous avalanches are possible. If you encounter these deteriorating surface conditions, you should find a safe way off sunny slopes as quickly as possible. Pay attention to changing surface conditions or just plan to be off the snow before it gets too warm.  

This is our 144th and final backcountry zone avalanche forecast for the 2016-17 season. Starting this afternoon, we will issue statewide avalanche summaries each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday through the end of May.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who uses and contributes to our products. Our job would be much harder without your continued support. Thank you!   

We have made impressive strides in our mission of avalanche forecasting and education here in Colorado. Help us continue that trend and donate to the Friends of CAIC fundraising campaign. https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/.

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: LOW (L1) Stay ahead of the sun watch for surface warming. If you sink deeper than 8" larger avys are possible. Apr 16, 6:27 AM
@CAIC: LOW (L1) It's Spring and it's warm Avoid steep slopes when the sun is on them. Get out of the mountains early. Apr 15, 5:19 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
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Historic
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

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
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
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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


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.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM by Nick Barlow Statewide Weather Forecast
  Sunday Night Monday Monday Night
Temperature (ºF) 17 to 22 25 to 30 10 to 15
Wind Speed (mph) 15 to 25 20 to 30 15 to 25
Wind Direction W W WSW
Sky Cover Overcast Overcast Overcast
Snow (in) 1 to 3 0 to 2 0 to 1

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 6:50 AM
Issued by: Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast  

Spring is the time when we often venture deeper into the backcountry. Lower elevation slopes will be frozen in the early morning, but it does not take long for these slopes to heat up and lose structure as the sun hits them. Timing becomes very important in your trip planning in the spring. You can easily avoid the danger by avoiding the sun. Start on easterly-facing slopes and make your way west as the sun climbs higher and starts its trip across the sky. Think about your afternoon exit route. If you plan to be in the mountains later in the day, remember that west aspects, especially near and below treeline, can fall apart while the alpine corn snow is just hitting its peak goodness. Small Loose Wet avalanches can entrain enough heavy snow to knock you off your feet and push you someplace you don't really want to be. Monitor the surface snow conditions carefully. If the snow loses cohesion and you sink deeper than about eight inches larger more dangerous avalanches are becoming possible. If you encounter these conditions, you should find a cooler aspect to recreate on or simply call it a day. 

Although it may feel like spring on your approach, upper elevation slopes on the cooler northerly facing aspects may still harbor more winter like conditions. Look for evidence of buried persistent weak layers and wind slabs before riding in steep northerly-facing terrain in high elevation areas where the snowpack has yet to go through a good melt freeze cycle.

Steer clear of any areas where you find overhanging cornices. Cornices often become more dangerous in the spring when they start to warm up.

CAIC forecasters will continue to do fieldwork and submit observations. This time of year, when fewer people are getting out into the mountains, we really depend on all of your observations to make accurate statewide avalanche forecasts. If you are getting out please submit an observation. We will issue statewide avalanche products Sunday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons starting today, April 16. We will continue to issue twice daily weather forecasts for 11,000 feet through the end of April. 


  • A skier triggered and was carried in this shallow avalanche in recent snow. North San Juan zone, 3/29/17. (full)

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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

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
La Veta Pass (160w278) Wed Apr 26 3:20 PM 32 77 16 265 22 -
Hayden Pass Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 32 - - - - 3.0
Medano Pass Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 37 - - - - 5.0
South Colony Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 34 - - - - -
Ute Creek Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 34 - - - - -

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