Sawtooth Avalanche Report | Sports
Well, just when we were about to give up, it seems “Old Man Winter” has decided to make a comeback. To be completely honest, however, the old fellow returned in cold temperatures rather than heavy snowfall. But last week our mountains received some light snowfall, especially in our northern mountains where 4 to 8 inches accumulated. So how does this snowfall affect avalanche conditions? Continue reading. It takes both a slab and a weak layer to have an avalanche. Weak layers usually form during dry spells between storms; snowfall and wind in stormy weather build the slab. The mid-winter drought that has prevailed since early January has produced several weak layers in the top 18 inches of the snowpack. However, weathering of the snowpack surface – from wind, intense sun and warm temperatures – means that these weak layers are not as widespread as they could be. They are more common on slopes shaded from the sun and sheltered from the wind. Thanks to the absence of stormy weather, much of our region lacks the slab part of the avalanche equation. With snowfall slowly returning to our area, that is starting to change. In areas that have received more load, such as wind-loaded slopes or the Banner Summit area where more recent snow has fallen, we have seen avalanches occur when these weak layers have reached their tipping point. . Light snowfall forecast through the weekend and into next week may begin to overload the slopes over larger portions of the forecast area. For now, we are at the mercy of weather forecasts which we all know can be hit and miss. So keep checking the daily avalanche forecast to see how conditions are changing. And if – let’s be optimistic, when – we get a big storm, expect conditions to change and avalanche danger to increase. Avalanches don’t care about approaching spring as long as these two key ingredients – slab and weaker layer – exist in the snowpack. Have fun, stay safe and think snow.