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Backcountry Avalanche Advisory

Weather will discourage most backcountry enthusiasts


As of Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005  Alpine: CONSIDERABLE trending HIGH   Treeline: CONSIDERABLE trending HIGH   Below Treeline: BELOW THRESHOLD

Travel Advisory : A thin alpine snowpack with variable crusts and facetted snow layers will be tested with this week’s forecasted weather. The rain is slowly soaking into the upper part of the snowpack. There is weak facetted snow particularly around shallow, rocky areas. Be aware of these thin areas as well as other early season hazards. The weather looks as though it will discourage most backcountry enthusiasts for a few days.

Avalanche Activity : There has been little in the way of shears in the snowpack in the past week. As of noon on the 20th the rain has not begun to cause any natural avalanche activity. Ski testing this morning produced no results, however given time the moist surface snow will start to fail. Expect to see snowballing and cornice droop/drops.

Snowpack : Variable has described our snowpack as of late with the wind scouring and loading throughout the alpine. There are several crusts in the upper snowpack that can be found 30-50 cm down. In and around the crusts is weaker facetted snow, which is the main concern. The rain is making the snow above this layer heavier and thus putting strain on it. With the rain forecast over the next few days expect this facetted snow to fail.

Weather : The strong southerly flow will continue for the next few days bringing high freezing levels, strong winds and moderate precipitation. The temperature looks like it may cool down by Friday.