• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 6:55 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

Snow and wind today will create new slabs of drifted snow on easterly slopes. Avalanches will be mostly small in the new snow. The biggest consequence of these new wind deposits is that they mask a deeper and larger problem. Drifted snow will land on harder and thicker slabs which sit over weaker, softer and collapsible snow layers. With this snowpack setup, any small avalanche you trigger in the new snow can result in a much larger and more dangerous avalanche.

To lower your risk to avalanches today, avoid steep slopes that are receiving drifted snow. Even if you don't see active wind loading, avoid areas that were loaded over the past week. These slopes are harder to identify but they will most likely face an easterly direction and they are located directly below ridgetop. Stick to sheltered areas to find relatively safer conditions.

 

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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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


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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E
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NW
NE
SE
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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
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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.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 12:40 PM by Jason Konigsberg Statewide Weather Forecast
  Friday Night Saturday Saturday Night
Temperature (ºF) -3 to 2 15 to 20 3 to 8
Wind Speed (mph) 15-25G50 15 to 25 12 to 22
Wind Direction WNW WNW WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 1 to 3 0 0

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:50 AM
Issued by: Kreston Rohrig Statewide Weather Forecast  

Today could be an interesting day. This fast-moving storm will bring around 3 to 6 inches of snow throughout the day and another round of strong westerly winds. Expect to find a fresh layer of denser snow to start building on leeward, easterly facing slopes as the storm progresses. By themselves, these new wind-slabs should be relatively soft but could be a little touchy and easy to trigger as they form. Steep near and above-treeline slopes are the most likely places to run into this problem. Almost all of the recent avalanche activity has been on steep, wind-loaded slopes below a ridge or cornice. Today will be no different. These suspect slopes are the main hazard you will need to manage or avoid if traveling at higher elevations.

Even more concerning is that on these same slopes, you can trigger a more massive avalanche that breaks deeper in the snowpack or at the ground. There is a mixed bag of weak snow layers buried in the upper portions of the snowpack and a haunting layer of facets and depth hoar from October near the ground. Triggering a larger avalanche has proven difficult lately, and often needs a rider to find the "sweet spot" around a shallowly buried rock or thin spot in the slab. Trying to figure out where this might occur when looking at a slope can be challenging to say the least. Often we can't see what's below the snow surface or where the snowpack is thinner. For this reason, we suggest simply avoiding suspect or riskier slopes and find better riding options in wind-sheltered, lower-angle terrain. Let this storm pass and give the snowpack a few days to adjust before tempting bigger slopes. 


  • Wind slab avalanche on SE aspect > TL (full)
  • close up of Clark Peak avalanche- Cameron Pass (full)
  • A near treeline snowpit dug on a southeast aspect. Jones Pass, Front Range Mountains. January 13, 2020. (full)

See more photos & videos

Five Day Trend

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Today

Tomorrow

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Fri Jan 17 - TL NE HS AS / r R2 D1

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Fri Jan 17 Spencer Logan Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1)
View Thu Jan 16 Lucas Mouttet No No No
View Wed Jan 15 Ron Simenhois No No Yes (1)
View Wed Jan 15 Spencer Thomson No Yes (1) Yes (1)
View Wed Jan 15 Mike Coyle No No Yes (1)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Bear Lake Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 11 - - - - 6.0
Berthoud Summit Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 2 - - - - 4.0
Bottle Peak Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM 1 88 26 114 31 -
Berthoud Pass Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM -2 75 16 321 33 -
Cameron Pass Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM -1 85 15 211 28 1.6
Loveland Pass Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM -1 73 27 252 38 -
Joe Wright Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM 7 - - - - 2.0
Loveland Basin Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 2 - - - - 3.0
Lake Eldora Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 10 - - - - 3.0

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