Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 12:55pmIssued by: Matt Huber
Generally safe avalanche conditions exist today across the Central Mountains. Although it is becoming more difficult to find the right combination of snow conditions and terrain for you to trigger an avalanche, it is not impossible. Above treeline, watch for isolated pockets of previously wind-drifted snow that still remain on easterly-facing slopes. Wind-sheltered slopes with softer, less cohesive snow offer the best options for better riding and to avoid triggering an avalanche.
A weak shortwave system to our north will bring strengthening winds and increasing cloud cover to Colorado Tuesday night. High pressure builds yet again on Wednesday. A weak shortwave brushes the Wyoming-Colorado border, but we'll only see scattered snow flurries along our northern border at best. Most mountain areas will see another warm and sunny day, and continued gusty conditions. Wednesday night is cool and clear with nighttime lows in the teens to mid 20s.
Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion
Clear skies and cold nights are continuing to build the Colorado trademark of an early-season faceted snowpack. Warm daytime temperatures and intense sun continue to form surface crusts and melt away the snowpack on sunny aspects. Lingering wind-drifted slabs are slowly degrading in hardness and losing continuity, but you can still find them on high elevation, east-facing slopes. You are more likely to get knocked off your feet and go for a nasty ride into the rocks below than you are to be buried by one of these slabs should they avalanche. The weather patterns over the next few weeks will dictate if these slabs and crusts remain with us in the future, or if they get chewed up in the faceting process. Either way, we are setting up for a rather weak basal layer and a touchy snowpack with the next loading event.
Around much of the Central Mountains, south-facing slopes are generally bare up to near 13,000 feet. North-facing slopes are snow-covered down to about 8500 feet with one to two feet of snow near treeline, making for some decent facet surfing. With generally safe conditions and beautiful days, now is a great time to make mental maps of snow cover and conditions before it begins snowing again.