Buff Pass: Booty
Sunday morning’s snow total is 7 inches at mid-mountain and 10 inches at the summit, and between about 500am and 700am, another one inch of snow fell. These totals were on the high end of our 4-8 forecast range and should make for fun turns on Sunday morning.
During Sunday and Monday, we’ll likely see clouds stick around with a few snow showers, and we should also see some breaks of sunshine.
Persistent Slab: Large to very large likely on all aspects and elevations
It is becoming harder to trigger avalanches, but the potential size and unpredictable nature of current conditions keep the danger elevated. Make conservative terrain choices and avoid traveling on slopes steeper than around 30 degrees to limit your risk. New snow and strong northwest winds will stack another dense slab on easterly-facing slopes. You can trigger a smaller avalanche in drifted areas that steps down to weaker layers creating a more devastating avalanche. Thinner parts of the snowpack around rocks or steep break-overs are the most likely places to affect more fragile snow layers and trigger a massive slide.
Keep in mind that places you have traveled in previous years may not be safe this year under these conditions. Give all avalanche terrain a wide buffer, and be sure not to congregate at the bottom of steep slopes.
Limit skiing to a small terrain selection assessed as having acceptable risk until the situation has clearly changed. New evidence continues to be gathered and monitored for changing conditions, but new terrain is only considered for opening if there is compelling evidence to do so (for example if an avalanche was observed that definitely removed the layer of concern).
Entrenchment mode is a successful operating strategy for persistent slab instabilities.Establish a limited base of acceptable operating terrain and be disciplined to operate only within that designated terrain as long as necessary for the persistent instability to run its course. Expect this to take longer than anticipated and do not step out into new terrain prematurely. Plan to maintain this discipline beyond the time when all evidence seems to indicate that the persistent instability is no longer a concern.
When dealing with persistent instabilities, discipline is more likely to be successful than cleverness –it is better to wait out the instability than to try to outsmart it.
Snomo to Fats drop and ski 4x laps in Booty
Overcast, cold, light westerly wind. HN24 10″
HS 160cm, HN24 25cm low density pow, one large collapse observed while taking photos on ski line