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Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:17 AM
Issued by: Kreston Rohrig

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

Periods of intense snowfall and strong westerly winds will ramp up throughout the day. This storm won't last long but will build a fresh layer of denser snow on easterly slopes. Be heads up, as these newly formed slabs may be easy to trigger on steeper slopes. Look for smooth rounded surfaces below ridges or on the sides of cross-loaded gullies as features to avoid. In most cases, these fresh slabs will be soft and on the smaller side but do overlap with a bigger problem. Thicker slabs of wind-drifted snow formed last week sit above softer snow layers on north and easterly aspects. With this added weight, it may be possible to trigger an avalanche that breaks deeper or wider than you might expect. Any avalanche that fails deeper in the snowpack will be hard to escape and large enough to bury you. To help stay safe, avoid traveling on or below steep, wind-drifted slopes. Seek out lower angle terrain in wind-sheltered areas for better riding conditions.

 

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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Above 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

 
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N
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
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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

 
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N
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E
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NW
NE
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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) 0 to 5 20 to 25 5 to 10
Wind Speed (mph) 15-25G50 12 to 22 6 to 16
Wind Direction WNW W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 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. 


  • Hard wind Slab on SE aspect > TL, North side of Little Professor, South side of Loveland Pass (full)
  • Wind transport on the South Side of Loveland Pass (full)
  • Hard, Wind Slab on E aspect > TL, South side of Loveland Pass (full)

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Five Day Trend

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Today

Tomorrow

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Fri Jan 17 - TL U HS N R2 D1.5
View Fri Jan 17 - TL E SS AS / c R1 D1
View Fri Jan 17 - TL E HS N R2 D2
View Thu Jan 16 - >TL E C N R1 D1
View Thu Jan 16 - >TL NE HS U R1 D1
View Thu Jan 16 - TL S U U R2 D2
View Thu Jan 16 - TL S SS N R2 D1
View Wed Jan 15 - TL E SS N R1 D1

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Fri Jan 17 Kreston Rohrig No Yes (2) Yes (3)
View Fri Jan 17 Kreston Rohrig No Yes (1) Yes (5)
View Thu Jan 16 wade biggs No Yes (1) No
View Wed Jan 15 - No Yes (1) Yes (2)

See All Field Reports

Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
A-basin Sa-summit Sat Jan 18 3:00 AM -4 72 17 243 21 -
Vail Pass - Cdot Yard Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM 4 91 2 2 4 4.8
Copper Mountain Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 5 - - - - 6.0
Fremont Pass Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 0 - - - - 3.0
Grizzly Peak Sat Jan 18 2:00 AM 1 - - - - 4.0
Hoosier Pass Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 4 - 6 325 - 3.0
Vail Mountain Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 6 - - - - 4.0

See All Weather Observations