There is no new snow to report this morning, but the next large winter storm is literally trying to blow your house down. With extreme southwest winds in the forecast and incoming snow, the avalanche danger will rise quickly today. We are forecasted to reach HIGH avalanche danger shortly after dark, with very dangerous avalanche conditions developing. As the snow piles up this afternoon, natural avalanche activity will increase with the threat of some very large and destructive avalanches late in the day.
The last round of natural avalanches was just last Friday night, such as this destructive avalanche off of Gothic Mountain hitting the valley bottom. Winds and new snow will be straining start zones on northerly and easterly facing slopes. Stay aware of avalanche paths above you and don’t linger below alpine start zones. Both persistent slab avalanches and windslab avalanches will be large and potentially destructive. These avalanche problems will become very sensitive to human triggering. Keep your slope angels near or below 30 degrees with cautious route-finding and conservative decision making.
You can go ski or ride the fresh snow today, but awareness of your surroundings and changing conditions will be key. Discuss your route with partners in a warm and dry location this morning and note where you will be exposed to potential overhead hazards. If you are finding 10” or more of new snow, then snowfall in your area is exceeding forecasts and the avalanche danger is rising quicker then expected. Planning to return home in the early afternoon will help avoid the most dangers part of the day.