Skiers triggered avalanches in wind-drifted snow north of the zone yesterday and a large natural Wind Slab avalanche was observed near Independence Pass. Also, small wet avalanches were triggered below treeline. Both of these avalanche issues will be what you need to watch out for today. Wind-drifted slabs on north through easterly slopes near ridgetop and wet avalanche on all aspects in areas out of the wind and below treeline.
To identify where the wind has drifted harder slabs of snow, look for cracking in the snow surface and feel for generally upside down snow, where more dense slabby-feeling snow sits over softer snow. As for wet avalanches, if the air temperature feels warm to you, the snow surface is probably feeling the effects as well. Snow that gets warm and wet will easily slide on buried crusts. Give the snow a push before committing to any slope to see if you get rollerballs, pinwheeling, and entrainment of the new snow in a loose avalanche.
As winds decrease over the next 24 to 48 hours, the likelihood of triggering an avalanche in wind-drifted snow will decrease. This will not be the case for wet avalanches. With up to 14 inches of snow over the past few days, the storm snow will quickly shed once heated by the sun. This could happen late this afternoon but most likely tomorrow will be the peak period for wet avalanches.
This is our last zone forecast for the 2018-2019 season. We will continue to issue daily regional forecasts by 3 PM through May.