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Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 6:54 AM
Issued by: Dylan Craaybeek

Monday

 

Tuesday

Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   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.   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

Generally safe avalanche conditions. The few slopes where you can trigger an avalanche are where wind drifts rest on weak snow. Look for and avoid steep wind-loaded slopes often found along the lee side of a ridge, the side of a gully, or around a rock outcrop.

Expect a rise in the avalanche danger in the following days as a storm comes into Colorado tonight followed by a more significant snowfall later in the week.

 

 
Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 12:27 PM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Monday Night Tuesday Tuesday Night
Temperature (ºF) 17 to 22 21 to 26 13 to 18
Wind Speed (mph) 15 to 25 7 to 17 7 to 17
Wind Direction W W WSW
Sky Cover Overcast Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 3-5W 1-3E 0 to 2 0

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Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 7:24 AM
Issued by: Dylan Craaybeek Statewide Weather Forecast  

Change is here! The dry weather finally comes to an end this evening. A storm enters Colorado with the West Elk and Elk mountains forecast to receive the most snow in the Central Mountains. These mountain ranges could see 5 to 7 inches of snow while most other areas will see 2 to 4 inches of snow.

After the extended dry period, our snowpack has grown very weak. Since our last storm on November 24th, we have had unseasonably warm and sunny days followed by cold and clear nights. During this period, most slopes that still held snow faceted to the ground. Some wind-loaded terrain features still hold a slab of firm snow that rests on facets. Southerly slopes with continuous snow coverage have developed surface crusts from warm sunny days, and observers have reported widespread surface hoar to exist on shadier aspects. This is a dangerous combination of weak layers that are about to be buried by a series of storms this week.

After tonight's storm, expect to see avalanches in areas where 6 or more inches of snow accumulate on top of a very weak snow surface. Even 3 or 4 inches of snow with some moderate winds could produce small avalanches on leeward slopes. North, northeast, and east facing slopes will see the most avalanches as the storm snow settles, but any slopes that harbor continuous snow coverage and receive the high end of predicted snowfall will be a concern.

Wednesday looks to be a day of dry weather before the second storm arrives later this week. This storm is still too far out to have reliable snowfall totals, but it looks to be the most significant winter storm so far this season. 

The bottom line is avalanche danger is going to rise rapidly throughout the week. The current state of the snowpack has set us up for dangerous conditions as snow begins to accumulate. Check back frequently for the most up to date avalanche information as we continue to track the incoming storms.

 


  • Snow profile on a northwest aspect of Mt. Bellview showing an overall weak snowpack from Nov.29, 2021. (full)
  • A human-triggered avalanche on a northwest-facing slope on Mount Baldy's Paradise Bowl, along the Gunnison and Aspen zone boundaries. This provides an example of the size avalanche you might expect to trigger in the current conditions. Note the small avalanche released in a steep, rocky, previously cross-loaded feature. Avalanche likely occurred around Thanksgiving. Photo December 3, 2021. (full)
  • Photo of intact surface hoar on a wind-exposed, sunny slope in the alpine on Aspen Snowmass. This surface hoar has been observed throughout much of the Aspen zone the past several days. The image was taken on November 30, 2021, by CAIC forecasters. (full)
  • Red Lady Bowl snow coverage (NE to S aspects). Slopes with continuous snow coverage today will be problematic tomorrow and late in the week as snow piles up. The image was taken on December. 5, 2021. (full)

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Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
No relevant backcountry observations found for this forecast

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Mon Dec 6 Dylan Craaybeek No No Yes (4)
View Sat Dec 4 Gabi Benel Yes (1) No Yes (2)
View Fri Dec 3 Ben Pritchett No Yes (1) Yes (2)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Sunlight Mon Dec 6 6:00 PM 21 73 15 230 23 -

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