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Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 6:48 AM
Issued by: Kreston Rohrig

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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

We are still riding the wave of tricky avalanche conditions. The chances of trigger an avalanche are diminishing, but the size of the slide you will create will be massive and hard to survive. You probably will not see signs of instability like cracking or hear whumpfing. The weak layers are near the ground, buried deeply in the snowpack. Spots where you might impact the weak layers are near and above treeline and have a shallower snowpack, like around rocks or along the edges of wind-drifted slopes. Those spots can be hard to identify and avoid.

To help manage the hazard, you should be mindful of steep slopes well above you, even if you are below treeline. The only sure way to avoid dangerous avalanches right now is to stick to lower angle slopes with no avalanche terrain above you. This means not traveling in avalanche run outs or under ridgelines with large cornices. We are still less than a week out from the recent avalanche cycle--not much time when we are dealing with weak layers near the ground and avalanches running past their historic extents.

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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


Deep Persistent Slab avalanches are destructive and deadly events that can release months after the weak layer was buried. They are scarce compared to Storm or Wind Slab avalanches. Their cycles include fewer avalanches and occur over a larger region. You can triggered them from well down in the avalanche path, and after dozens of tracks have crossed the slope. Avoid the terrain identified in the forecast and give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

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.

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 Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 1:10 PM by Spencer Logan Statewide Weather Forecast
  Thursday Night Friday Friday Night
Temperature (ºF) 20 to 25 30 to 35 15 to 20
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 10 to 20 10 to 20
Wind Direction S SW W
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 2 1 to 4 0 to 2

Archived Forecasts

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Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 7:23 AM
Issued by: Kreston Rohrig Statewide Weather Forecast  

The snowpack has settled and gained strength over the past few days of high pressure, but it's not "game on" out there. Deep Persistent Slab avalanches are a tricky beast and should be given respect. They are hard to trigger but could bring down the entire mountain-side. This is a tough situation. Even though we feel it is unlikely you will trigger one of these monsters, it's not impossible. The numerous pictures of broken trees and basin-wide avalanches are hard to clear from the mind, and serve as a strong reminder of what's lurking out there. 

Avoiding travel below avalanche terrain is the only way to maintain a margin of safety. We are only four or five days out from the end of the avalanche cycle in the Front Range and Vail & Summit County zones. On March 17, mitigation work triggered a very large avalanche in Summit County. That is just a few days that the snowpack has been settling down. It is not much time, given the massive size of the avalanches. Until we see avalanche activity completely quite down we are going to be stuck in this low-probability, high consequence problem. 

Overhead hazard is something you should always be aware of, but particularly at times like this when the avalanche will be very large or historic in size. Avalanches have been running to the valley bottoms. Your best option to reduce this risk is to stay completely out of avalanche runout zones. This includes areas in thick timber where there are large avalanche starting zones above.

The snowpack in the Steamboat and Flat tops zone is different. Weak layers are buried very deeply or are nonexistent. We have seen little avalanche activity in this zone, certainly nothing like the rest of the Northern Mountains. Investigate slopes before riding, and remember LOW danger does not mean NO danger. Small avalanches can have out-sized consequences if they carry you over cliff or stuff you into rocks.


  • Lower south avalanche into Monte Cristo (full)
  • Very large avalanche off of Mt Solitude in the Gore Range. SW aspect (full)

See more photos & videos

Five Day Trend

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    Extreme
Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Thu Mar 21 - TL S WS N R2 D2

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Thu Mar 21 Kreston Rohrig No Yes (1) Yes (3)
View Tue Mar 19 - No No No
View Mon Mar 18 Ellen Hollinshead No No Yes (6)

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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 Thu Mar 21 10:00 PM 17 95 24 156 37 -
Vail Pass - Cdot Yard Thu Mar 21 10:00 PM 25 95 1 163 4 0.1
Hoosier Pass Thu Mar 21 8:00 PM - - 2 163 - -

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