Posts tagged: avalanche forecast
WINTER SPORTS — The snow has barely piled up in the mountains and the first avalanche accidents of the year are being reported in the West.
Two levels of avalanche courses are being offered in the next few months at Schweitzer Mountain Resort organized by SOLE (Selkirk Outdoor Leadership Education) based in Sandpoint.
An AIARE Level 2 Course is set for Dec.7-8 and 14-15.
The four-day course provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge from Level 1 instruction by adding the the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation and decision-making skill development. Cost: $495.
An AIARE Level 1 Course is set for Jan. 18-20.
This three-day course on Decision Making In Avalanche Terrain is open to students ages 16-25 with scholarships available.
An AIARE Level 1 Course is set for Jan. 18-20.
This three-day course on Decision Making In Avalanche Terrain is open to students ages 16 and older with scholarships available for youths.
WINTER SPORTS — “We had it going on for a while, the melt-freeze I mean,” said Kevin Davis in today Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center weekly forecast.
“Last weekend the conditions were great and if you could have had this week off you would have been getting into some corn snow conditions. No solid overnight freeze put an end to that and you'll find slushy snow prevailing.
“Possibly a little dust on crust up north and to the south will be slush on slush.
“Be careful on steep terrain if you venture out today and this weekend. Use you spring travel techniques. I'll post that next week. This is our last official advisory this winter.”
WINTER SPORTS — “A lot of snow in the past week, and it fell with a lot of wind,” warns Kevin Davis in today's weekly advisory from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
Winds were mainly out of the west so use caution on the easterly aspects, NE through SE. I found a decent slab over a weak layer of facets on a north aspect in the Selkirks yesterday and I wouldn't have been on any steep and exposed slopes with that under me.
No shooting cracks or whumphing but if you dig down through the powdery snow you'll hit an ice crust, isolate a column on that and give er a whack and see what happens. Go or no go? It'll settle a little bit today but check it again this weekend. Great conditions out there right now.
WINTER SPORTS — Warm temperatures have softened snow to the tops of the region's mountains this week, according to avalanche forecasters who were out in the Selkirk Mountains Thursday.
“It may have tightened up a bit at the higher elevations but it was wet yesterday, to the top,” says Kevin Davis in the intro to today's report on avalanche conditions from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
“Temperatures seem to be coming down a bit, from 40 last night, but they may go up before they drop back down. When its this warm you want to be a little more cautious of steep terrain.
“Some surface slushies were running yesterday. More snow on the way by Saturday night, with strong west winds.”
WINTER SPORTS — Be careful out there winter snow goers. The warm front with heavy wet snow is creating high avalanche danger in the region's mountains, as you'll see in this National Weather Service warning for the North Cascades issued Wednesday evening.
The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center posts its weekly advisories on Fridays.
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry snowgoers have been finding great conditions here and there, an reasonably safe slopes.
“Look for sheltered areas to have the lightest surface snow,” says Kevin Davis in today's avalanche conditions report from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
“Exposed slopes were firm from wind and sun. Some shears in the upper 1-2 feet of pack but nothing pulling out with energy that concerned us. You will want to be concerned when the new snow comes in, possibly wet, heavy, and windloaded. Bad combo. Know your lee aspects.”
WINTER SPORTS — Snow conditions are “mostly stable” in the region's mountains going into the weekend and the weather forecast calls for improving stability from the slight weak layers discussed in this week's avalanche advisory by the Idaho Panhandle Avalance Center.
WINTER SPORTS - Weather is causing changes in snow stability that backcountry skiiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers should be aware of when traveling in the mountains today and this weekend, according to the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center's weekly report on mountain snow conditions.
“On easterly aspects we have a layer of buried surface hoar that is unstable and mostly isolated to sheltered slopes but it can be found from NE, E, to SE slopes with varying degrees of weakness,” said Kevin Davise, avalanche forecaster. “Due east seems to be where it is weakest. Other slopes are mostly stable but as temps go up today watch for weak layers developing on any steep slope.”
WINTER SPORTS — This film, “Ode to Avalanche,” will be awesome to some winter recreationists and frightening to others.
Either way, I hope it at least prompts you to check in with a regional avalanche forecast — such as the weekly bulletin by the Idaho Panhandle Avalance Center — before heading into the winter backcountry.
Update: Read this new enlightening Elk Mountain avalanche report on an slide that buried a skier near Marias Pass in Glacier National Park. It was close to being much, much worse.
WINTER SPORTS — The avalanche forecast for the Idaho Panhandle won't be updated until Friday, but forecaster Keith Wakefield of Curlew tramped high into the Kettle Range TODAY and got some unsettling results from his snow pits and sheer tests. Here's the scoop from a report he just filed:
Out snow geeking on Sherman Pass today, verifying the Canadians forecast for this region. Those Canucks nailed it! They had it at HIGH for today and tomorrow, and trending down to Considerable for the weekend.
Its the most complex the snowpack has been this season, and very upside down in the top 20-24” of the snowpack.
Two sensitive slabs in the uper two thirds of the pack totaling 20+ inches on the leeward N-NE aspects was a #3 ETC test down thru both slabs to a clean shear (q-1)
Wind has created nasty surface styro-crusts on windward S-SW-W aspects as well… Nasty.
Windy 10-15 today with rising temps. Good day for a trail ski. Going to be an interesting weekend in the region's backcountry. Heads up.
WINTER SPORTS — “We just began Chapter II of winter 2011/12,” Kevin Davis of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center says in an announcement this afternoon.
“This change in weather is introducing a significant load to a weak snowpack. As of the sending of this email (Tuesday 3:30 p.m.) freezing levels have risen to 6,000 feet and above and precipitation is rain or a snow/rain mix. Winds are picking up and blowing a consistent 20 mph with higher gusts; direction seems to be variable but prevailing westerly.
“Expect an unstable inverted snowpack with heavy wet snow overlying a dry weak base. Unstable conditions will remain with the passage of the pineapple express and a natural avalanche cycle may become widespread.
“Human triggered avalanches will be likely for a period following this but you should have some good clues as, “where not to go”, if you choose to venture out. Travel in avalanche terrain is not advised. ”
Read on for the full pre-season advisory.
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry travelers are urged to sign up for one of several free avalanche classes being presented by the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center as well as Idaho State Parks and Recreation.
While groups can book special avalanche classes — The Spokane Mountaineers have a session booked in January — here are public sessions scheduled so far:
In Sandpoint, the following two-hour presentations start at 6 p.m. in the new Forest Service Building, west of town on the way to Dover.
Dec. 15, “Beacon Practice Avy Gear Review.”
Jan. 10, “Fire and Ice, Risk Assessment and Situational Awareness.”
Jan. 27-28, Special indoor and outdoor training especially for snowmobilers. (Check it out at Idaho State Parks snowmobile eduation program)
Feb. 10, “Ten Years of Avalanche Fatalities in North Idaho.”
Info: Kevin Davis (208) 265-6686
A Silver Valley class, “Avalanche Awareness, Route Finding, and Rescue,” is sent for Jan. 21 at the Forest Service building in Smelterville. The indoors session starts at 10 a.m. followed in the afternoon by a field session for beacon practice and rescue training at Mullan Pass.
Info: Dan Frigard, (208) 883-2131.
In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho State Parks and the Avalanche Center will conduct free classes especially for snowmobilers on Jan. 13-14.
Info: Idaho State Parks snowmobile eduation program or call Marc Hildesheim, North Region trails specialist, (208) 769-1511.
The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center will begin issuing regular avalanche advisories on Friday mornings beginning Dec. 16, said Kevin Davis, Forest Service hydro tech in Sandpoint.
The center is working on a new website with information that will be available to smartphones.
WINTER SPORTS — The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center will begin issuing regular avalanche advisories on Friday mornings beginning Dec. 16, said Kevin Davis, Forest Service hydro tech in Sandpoint.
The center is working on a new website with information that will be available to smartphones.
Meantime, read on for Davis’s observations on current conditions for winter backcountry travelers.
WINTER-LIKE SPRING TRAVEL — Kevin Davis of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest Avalanche Center woke to an inch of new snow at Sandpoint. He kicked into gear this morning to revise his “spring” avalanche advisory even though his reporting season ended two weeks ago.
“We thought winter was over but it’s kind of not,” he said.
In the high country, snow depths continue to increase rather than degrease, with more than 16 feet of snow recorded at some Snotel sites.
The Panhandle is 153 percent of average for snowpack, the Spokane drainage area is 147 percent and the Clearwater region is at about 142 pecent of an average snowpack this year.
Read on for Davis's observations for anyone venturing into the region's avalanche terrain this spring.
WINTER SPORTS — Even though the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center's official reporting season ended last week, hydrologic technichian Kevin Davis was compelled to post more advice this morning after scouting the region's winter-like snowpack this week.
Check out his full Spring Advisory, which includes tips on how to maximixe your sliding quality — and safety — when that spring sunshine is beating down.
“We're doing much better than last year for snowpack so your winter adventures could last well into June, depending on how the snow comes off,” Davis said in his opening remarks to the advisory.
“Silver Mountain was reporting large avalanches with their explosive control last Sunday and we have received quite a bit of snow in the last week. I heard lots of bombs going off at Schweitzer Monday - Wednesday.”
WINTER SPORTS — The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center issued its final avlanche advisory of the season this morning even though deep snow still shrouds the region's mountains — and the delayed corn-snow, wet-snow cycle has not yet begun.
Generally, avalanche danger is LOW in the Selkirk Mountains with MODERATE danger found on windloaded aspects steeper than 35 degrees above 5,000 feet.
The St. Regis Basin region poses more concern and generally MODERATE danger because of rain on the slopes this week.
Be especially wary of wind-loaded and wind-hardened slopes, the advisors say.
Says Eric Morgan, avalanche technician:
The conditions will be dynamic as we will be at or near the freezing mark in the upper elevations. This will likely be the last report of the year so I would like to emphasize the importance of the persistent Martin Luther King Weekend crust that exists deep in the snow pack and to urge you all to watch for if and when the spring temps rise at how much they rise and how much stress is being put on that deep persistent ice crust.
WINTER SPORTS — Snow continues to fall in the high country, creating a mix of conditions and for backcountry travelers, according to the weekly avalanche advisory just posted by the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
Generally, avalanche conditions are MODERATE in the region with CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on windloaded aspects steeper than 35 degrees above 5,000 feet.
Read the entire advisory before heading out.
WINTER SPORTS — Warmer days followed by cool nights and continued snowfall are creating a stew of conditions for backcountry winter travlers to consider, says Kevin Davis from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center in Sandpoint.
Generally, the weekly avalanche advisory posted this morning rates avalanche conditions as MODERATE in most areas. However, there are many caveats considered in the report that travelers should read.
“I think its going to be one of those springs where we get powder in the hills into mid April,” Davis said. “This could lead to a continuation of the conditions we are experiencing today.
“Be cautious of weak layers in the new snow and then rapid warming of the new snow.
“It's easy to check weak layers that are less than a foot deep. Just isolate a block with your hand about 1 foot square on a steep little slope, like a road cut, and tap on the uphill side and see how easily it slides off the block.
If it jumps off with little pressure, better pay attention. Do this on other slopes and elevations as you travel.
We'll issue a spring travel tips advisory next week to keep you abreast of the constantly changing conditions this time of year.
WINTER SPORTS — The Inland Northwest avalanche advisory issued this morning notes moderate to considerable danger for avalanche, especially on the wind-slab areas of the Selkirks and Lookout Pass area.
The heavy snowfall of the past week in the Lookout area has not posed much more than moderate danger except on slopes steeper than 35 degrees and above 5,000 feet, reports the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center .
“Exciting stuff happening in North Idaho this past week,” said Kevin G. Davis, Avalanche Center hydrologic technician in Sandpoint. “Generally great sliding conditions out there today. A little trickier to the south of our forecast region with the tremndous snow accumulation. Be cautious on steep windloaded slopes where stress to layers that formed Tuesday/Wednesday with new snow and wind have not completely settled.”
WINTER SPORTS — The Inland Northwest avalanche advisory issued this morning notes that snow that accumulated in the cold temperatures of recent storm is light enough to warrant only “considerable” avalanche danger in many (not all) areas. But a change is expected around Sunday.
The coldest snow temperatues recorded this morning at the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center was -18F at Hidden Lake in the northern Selkirks.
“This cold weather is weakening the entire pack but most significantly in the upper 3 feet where we have some weak layers around crusts and changing density storm snow,” said Kevin Davis, center director. “Luckily, for now the load from the new snow this week is light and it is not adding alot of stress to these weak layers. It is most unstable where wind-loaded or hardened by wind. The situation will change on Sunday when we get rising temperatures and more snow, and this will bury another layer of surface hoar. Enjoy it now, bundle up, and be safe.”