BC Zone Observation Report
Monday, December 25, 2017 at 12:00 AM
The slide occurred in the Dry Gulch Area just east of the Tunnel and the Loveland Ski Area.. The area had received over 2 feet of snow including the Christmas Morning storm. The slope was a mix of open faces and dense trees, some old growth and some younger trees. There was noticeable terrain features, that I made note of on the way up.
There was about 8 inches of fresh dense snow in the parking lot. The start of the tour the wind was relatively calm but picked up around the start of my second lap at about 11:50am. It was snowing heavily from 9am to about 10:30am. Then it was off and on with some sun poking thru. These conditions were below tree line around 11900 ft and 10900 ft. There were some gust around 11:30 onward from the north that were moving some snow.
At the start of the ascent I noticed about 2 feet of fresh snow was starting to form a slab on an east aspect at about 10800 ft. This slab was sitting on a very unsupported faceted base. No Shooting cracks were observed but breaking trail revealed the slab was forming from all of the new snow.
The avalanche occurred on a mainly easterly aspect at 11880ft in an open face in the trees. It was triggered by a ski cut from above and to the skiers left of the release point. The crown looked to average anywhere from a 1 foot to possibly 3 feet in depth. The bed surface was the faceted unsupported snow from the early season. The slide occurred on a convex slope that ended in a drainage. It propagated around the corner with a slight northerly aspect in it as well. The slide didn't take out any trees but the debris pile could have easily buried a person or drug them thru rocks. The area of the slide also gets wind loaded as well.
AS / r
O - Within Old Snow