As the dry conditions persist, warm days and cold nights will continue to breakdown and weaken our mid-pack slab. This process will make it harder to find the isolated areas where you can trigger an avalanche.
Continue to approach steep, wind-loaded areas with caution. Riders triggered small avalanches on northerly and east-facing slopes within the last week. These avalanches look they broke on mid-pack facets that formed during a prolonged period of warm, dry weather in mid-November.
It’s been almost two weeks since we received reports of avalanches breaking on weak basal facets at the ground. The problematic structure still exists, but pinning down the distribution is becoming more difficult. In parts of the forecast area where snow depths are generally around 3 feet deep, observers can find rounding basal facets. However, in areas with a shallower snowpack, the basal grains are slowly getting weaker. Portions of a slope with thin snow cover such as the backside of steep rollovers, the edges of a slab, or around rocky outcrops are the most likely spots to trigger a slide that breaks near the ground.
Before committing to a slope, think about the consequences of being pushed around in a small avalanche. Could I be swept off a cliff or buried in a terrain trap, or washed through trees and shallowly buried obstacles? Small avalanches in the wrong terrain can ruin your day, your season, or worse.