Winds calmed down over the last 2 days, but moderate winds gusting upwards of 24 MPH out of the SSW earlier this week plus a few new inches of light snow helped form newer wind slabs up to 6 inches thick in the upper most terrain on multiple aspects. These new wind slabs may be resting on a slick crust that has developed in the last week from the sun, and may be sensitive to the weight of a skier or rider. Be cautious in steep exposed terrain, where a small wind slab could knock you off your feet or push you where you don't want to go. Older wind slabs can still be found, but will be stubborn to trigger. Your best strategy is to simply avoid areas with obvious wind affect, drifts or rounded pillows of snow are great visual indicators. Hollow or punchy feeling snow will also let you know you are on a wind slab.
Today the winds are going to be increasing after noon, fresh wind slabs will begin to grow pretty quickly with plenty of light density snow to move around. Winds combined with heavy snowfall will continue to be a problem creating larger wind slabs over the next few days.
Small, loose dry avalanches of sluffs have been increasing over the last few days. If you are skiing or riding in steep terrain today, you will need to pay attention to what is chasing you down the hill. While these small avalanches are not likely to bury you, if you are in consequential terrain they can easily steer or push you where you don't want to go. As new snow accumulates above the light dry snow today and over the next few days, this will increase the storm slab potential especially in steeper terrain.
We are still tracking buried Basal facets, surface hoar, and near surface facets that are now buried in our snowpack. These persistent grain types can awaken after being dormant for an extended period of time (hence the name persistent). These layers are scattered and not widely distributed right now but can still be found on any protected slopes with a north tilt to them. We have also found shallow rocky areas near ridgelines that are harboring some large basal facets now buried under old wind slabs. Our stability tests have shown that while these areas are hard to trigger, when they fail, they are failing near the ground with a hard slab above them. While we haven't seen any activity in these layers for 2 weeks now, keep them in mind as you make your travel plans over the next few days and as we add weight to the snowpack.
The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center (FPAC) needs YOU! We are in desperate need of more user support and financial assistance. The avalanche forecast is not a guaranteed service, and is in jeopardy of dwindling down to only a couple of days a week in the near future. Please help if you can by clicking the DONATE tab above. If you value this life saving information, make a donation or help the FPAC in raising funds for the future.
Snowmobiler/Snowbiker Travel Restrictions: a quick reminder that the Granite Mountain Area Closure is now in effect. In addition there are other areas on the Payette National Forest that are CLOSED to snowmobile traffic including Jughandle Mt east of Jug Meadows, Lick Creek/Lake Fork Drainage (on the right side of the road as you are traveling up canyon), and the area north of Brundage Mt Ski area to junction "V" and along the east side of Brundage and Sergeants' Mts. with the exception of the Lookout Rd( junction "S"). Please respect these closures and other users recreating in them. Winter Travel Map(East side). You can download the map to the AVENZA app on your phone, and know your exact location while you are out riding.
FOUND on Goose Lake Road Wednesday near Brundage Reservoir- prescription glasses in case. Email us at email@example.com if these look familiar.
Yesterday was another gray day with out much change in the weather or snowpack. Light winds and 2-3 inches of new snow in the upper elevations made for good skiing and relatively low hazard. Ski cuts on steep northerly terrain produced sluffing and nothing else. Thin and sensitive wind slabs can be found on exposed, upper elevation terrain. Of most concern is the variation that we are still finding in the snowpack on upper elevation terrain where the snowpack is still shallow or has been scoured. Persistent Weak Layers can be found in these areas and some protected terrain with a 1-3 foot slab above them and are remaining active in our pit tests. These variations are going to be something to keep in mind as we add more storm and wind blown snow above them. See the video of a weak layer that we found Wednesday.
Over the last week, local recreationists have been bagging steep lines on skis and sleds with low consequence snow, but conditions are going to change today with the arrival of a powerful storm and your mindset needs to change as well. The West Central Mountains seem to be in the Bull's Eye for a major precipitation event but the weather models are having a tough time agreeing on storm totals and temperatures. Up to 3.5 inches of Snow Water Equivalent could hit the area by Monday afternoon which equates to a lot of higher density snow accompanied by high winds. Pay attention to RAPIDLY changing conditions as the storm arrives especially Saturday and Sunday as temperatures climb...the avalanche danger will be increasing as well.
|0600 temperature:||23 deg. F.|
|Max. temperature in the last 24 hours:||23 deg. F.|
|Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:||SE|
|Average wind speed during the last 24 hours:||6 mph|
|Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours:||16 mph|
|New snowfall in the last 24 hours:||NA inches|
|Total snow depth:||74 inches|
This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.