Moderate - Forecast snowfall amounts are uncertain
Winter is coming, back, at least to the alpine for the next few days. These storm systems are pretty convective which makes it difficult to pin down accurate snowfall amounts, but the weekend storm should offer a nice reset for alpine riding quality. There is a bit of a lull Sunday and Monday before another shot of precipitation looks to make landfall Monday night into Tuesday.SATURDAY NIGHT: Freezing level around 800 m, mainly light west/northwest wind, potential for moderate winds near ridgetop before dawn, 2 to 8 cm of snow.SUNDAY: Overcast, freezing level around 1000 m, light to moderate west/northwest wind, trace to 8 cm of snow possible. MONDAY: Broken cloud cover, freezing level rising to around 1200 m, light to moderate south/southwest wind, trace of snow possible.TUESDAY: Overcast, freezing level around 1200 m, moderate to strong south/southwest wind, 5 to 15 cm of snow possible.
We received a great MIN report
on Friday. It details a few avalanche occurrences including a size 3 on an east facing slope and lots of loose wet activity from steep terrain.On Thursday small loose wet avalanches were observed in steep terrain. Control work produced a few storm slab avalanches to size 2 on northeast facing slopes between 1800 and 2000 m.On Wednesday, reports indicated several natural slab releases and a cornice failure up to size 2.5. Slab avalanches were remotely triggered (from a distance) by riders up to size 1.5. We suspect these avalanches were running on the April 4th crust interface. Daytime warming produced loose wet avalanches on solar aspects up to size 2.
The region is receiving a bit of new snow, but as of Saturday afternoon amounts are less than 10 cm. As we enter into mid-April we're dealing with a classic warm snowpack. At and below treeline the snowpack is becoming isothermal
. We're entering a cooler period for the next few days, so a surface crust is expected to remain supportive. This supportive crust is what the new snow will come to rest on in most locations. The exception is high elevation north facing features where 20 to 80 cm of cold dry snow sits above the April 4th crust which may have some surface hoar or facets above it. Digging deeper, north facing alpine terrain also has a layer of facets down approximately 100 cm below the surface which are thought to be dormant at this time.