SPC – Soda Special




Day #


Weather Forecast

Snow shower continue into Wednesday night favoring areas in the northern Front Range zone. Nighttime low temperatures drop into the negative digits. Showers end on Thursday as drier air works into Colorado. Northwest winds increase at the ridgetops as the jet lifts across the State.

Avalanche Danger


Persistent Slab: Large to very large likely on all aspects and elevations

Avoid traveling on below slopes steeper than around 30 degrees. Avalanche conditions are dangerous. Avalanches can break wide and run long distances. You can trigger avalanches from below slopes or from a distance away. Places you have traveled in previous years may not be safe this year under these conditions. Give all avalanche terrain a wide buffer.

Ski Partners

Leslie, TJ, Will, Lauren
Entrenchment – Dealing with a well-established persistent instability. Entrenchment (not a preferred operating mode) requires discipline to sustain it for the necessary time; this is the last resort short of closing operations completely.

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.


Snowcat to East Ridge of Soda. Skied 2x off West Ridge, 1x Poppy fields, Lower Soda nose > ramp. Skinned out to Dry Lake.


AM Obs: OVC S-1 and calm
PM Obs: Mostly Cloudy S-1 with a light W breeze
Hn24: 3″; Hn48: 17″; Ski pen: Just below knee cap








Mostly cloudy


Light W breeze



Ski Pen

Below kneecap

Snowpack Observations

30″ settling storm snow on a stiff mid-pack all on top of weak facets

Avalanche Activity

None observed. Two very large fatal avalanches on deep persistent slab over the last few days.


Storm snow settled a bit and riding and trail breaking conditions were better than yesterday. Lots of snomo skier traffic on Upper Soda all day

Greatest Risk

Today’s plan and terrain selection was consistent with the Fx and plan. Greatest risk was lack or resources once we dropped into Lower Soda in the event we needed a rescue. Cold temps kept us moving all day


We kept it super mellow and stayed off avi terrain


Need to learn the South Soda lines so we can modify our tour plan in the event West Ridge gets poached. Egress via BTR to extent the tour if time allows


West Ridge got hammered by snomo skier traffic today. Poppy Fields only has a few lines and should be skiing better tomorrow with more settling overnight. Lower Soda skiing great.

Riding Quality

Great skiing today (A-)