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Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:14 AM
Issued by: Ben Pritchett

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.
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.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

Strong westerly winds will drift the new snow that falls this morning onto easterly facing terrain near and above treeline. Where you find more than about 8” of drifted snow, expect that you could trigger a slab avalanche. Gale-force winds may deposit the snow far down-slope, well below ridgelines, collecting most deeply near treeline. If you trigger a small avalanche it could step down or break deeper, especially in areas where the snowpack height is less than about 4 feet. Identify and avoid the fresh drifts and you'll reduce your chances of trigging a slab avalanche. You’ll find the safest options in wind-sheltered terrain, but keep in mind the potential for triggering small loose avalanches.

 

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


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

 
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


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
Small
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.

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 22 to 27 2 to 7
Wind Speed (mph) 12 to 22 7 to 17 5 to 15
Wind Direction WNW WNW WNW
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 1 0 0

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:45 AM
Issued by: Ben Pritchett Statewide Weather Forecast  

Strong westerly winds are a sure bet today around the Central Mountains. How much snow will fall this morning for those winds to transport is the big question. Unfortunately the weather models don't agree all that well, leaving a big potential spread for what might actually stack up on the ground.

Although we expect a lot of regional variation in today's snow totals, the guidance on what to do about the changing conditions is broadly applicable. 8" of drifted snow is a good benchmark for identifying features of concern. Some areas in West Elks and Elk Mountains may see drifts of these or greater depths develop by late morning on many alpine and near-treeline easterly-facing features. Further east in the Sawatch mountains, fresh drifts this deep may be hard to find.

The prior snow surface is a critical factor in how sensitive these drifts will be to human triggering. Places where the drifts land on dense, settled snow will be less reactive. Where drifts build on weak faceted surfaces, or on slick and stiff old drifts, these new drifts may pop out more easily. Watch for rapidly changing conditions as the day progresses, and monitor the sensitivity of drifted snow by using small test features before committing to any larger slopes.


  • A large snowmobile triggered avalanche that broke on a layer of facets buried about 1-2 feet down. This was an easterly facing slope, near treeline. 1/16/2020. (full)
  • Skier triggered avalanche on an east-facing slope near treeline. Richmond Ridge 1/14 (full)
  • Large wind-drifted slab natural avalanche breaking on lower weak layers off Marble Peak. North-facing slope near treeline. Jan. 14, 2020. (full)
  • Slide path Express #1 covering Express Creek Road 39° 2'54.93"N - 106°47'38.84"W (full)

See more photos & videos

Five Day Trend

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    Low
  • 2
    Moderate
  • 3
    Considerable
  • 4
    High
  • 5
    Extreme
Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Fri Jan 17 - TL NE SS AS / r R1 D2
View Fri Jan 17 - TL E SS N R1 D1.5
View Thu Jan 16 - <TL E SS AM / c R1 D2
View Wed Jan 15 - TL NE SS AS / c R1 D1.5

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Fri Jan 17 Ben Pritchett, Bill Nalli and Ryan Lewthwaite No Yes (2) Yes (9)
View Fri Jan 17 Aaron Carlson No No Yes (1)
View Thu Jan 16 Evan Ross No Yes (1) Yes (2)
View Wed Jan 15 Evan Ross No Yes (3) Yes (4)
View Wed Jan 15 Evan Ross No No Yes (2)
View Wed Jan 15 Ben Pritchett No Yes (1) Yes (3)
View Wed Jan 15 Ben Pritchett No Yes (1) Yes (1)
View Wed Jan 15 (Public) Crested Butte Avalanche Center No No Yes (2)
View Wed Jan 15 Ben Pritchett No Yes (1) Yes (1)
View Wed Jan 15 Ben Pritchett No Yes (4) Yes (6)

See All Field Reports

Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Butte Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 7 - - - - 4.0
Park Cone Sat Jan 18 1:00 AM 4 - - - - -
Taylor Park Sat Jan 18 1:57 AM 2 75 5 236 11 -

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