18 Feb 2012

With 22 cm of new snow it should be a great day!! Thanks to Jonathan Effa for this shot of Atwell Peak and some field observations from Wednesday: 

A few observations (maybe a bit outdated now) from Wednesday. Skied the E-face of Mt Atwell. There was about 10cm of new low density snow siting on top of a variety of surfaces through out the Garibaldi area. Surface hoar to ~1cm forming on the top up to ~1800m. SW-SE aspects showed signs of older LS avalanches but it stayed colder Wednesday and I didn't see anything come down (debris preceded the latest snow). The winds were calm most of the day (sheltered on the east side). Fairly hard wind slab in places near ridge line. Some pinwheeling starting in the early afternoon (definitely heading towards spring time).  Good luck with the leg. 

Thanks Jon, its on the mend!

Also some field observations from the Duffy, thanks to Lee Lau for taking the time to send this Thursday:

@1850m, ski pen is 10cms, boot pen 20cms.  top 10 is fist on settled snow.  Winds L from SE.  Assorted signs of severe warming  event when temps went + 12 in alpine from inversion in form of pinwheels and solar refreeze even on  NW aspect.  Snow was ok; travel fast but man it needs more snow
S aspects of Rohr naturally cleansed.
No surf hoar to speak of at TL or BTL

At 2280 meters the temperature was -9 at 07:00, the winds were 45-65 KPH from the SSE. At 1550 meters it was -5, 98% humidity and the barometer is on the decline. At Catskinner weather plot there was 22 cm of new snow. In the valley it is 0. Winds should taper off as the day moves along with flurries. Looks like it could be an awesome day for touring tomorrow. For today expect size 1-2 soft slabs running fast and far. Deep as 40 cm. Reactive.

For the latest Avalanche Advisory click here: Avalanche Advisory

Sorry to report another avalanche fatality near Snowmass Colorado:

On Wednesday January, 18th, a fatal avalanche accident occurred in the backcountry on Burnt Mountain near the Snowmass ski area. The avalanche occurred in a gully feature on a northeast aspect at 10,490 feet. The small slope that slid averaged approximately 45 degrees, and was close to 50 degrees near the crown. The avalanche was 14 feet wide, ran 30 vertical feet, and was 2 feet deep at the crown. A soft slab approximately 1 foot thick sat on top of a very reactive surface hoar layer. We believe the avalanche started with the soft slab failing on the surface hoar before stepping down into the underlying weak faceted snow. There were 3 skiers in the group involved in the accident. Skier 1 entered the gully from the top and skied down the bottom of the gully and past the accident site without incident. Skier 2 entered further down down slope and triggered a small soft slab that deposited debris in the bottom of the gully, but was not caught in the debris. Skier 2 also skied further down the gully without incident. Skier 3 entered further down slope from Skier 2 and became stuck in avalanche debris from Skier 2's soft slab and weak faceted snow at the the bottom of the gully. While struggling to extricate himself, he triggered a soft slab which came down from above and buried him. The avalanche was very small but the debris was funneled into the narrow gully, which allowed a small amount of snow to pile up deeply enough to bury the victim. Skiers 1 and 2 responded to the accident by ascending back up the gully to the burial location. They were able to extricate Skier 3, with the help of several snowboarders who came upon the scene responding to calls for help. Unfortunately, attempts to resuscitate Skier 3 were unsuccessful.