SPC – Soda Special




Day #


Weather Forecast

The jet stream is sagging into the Desert Southwest placing Colorado under a northwest flow. Snow showers continue today favoring the Northern Mountains. Daytime high temperatures reach into the mid to upper teens under mostly cloudy skies. Temperature (°F) 11 to 16. Wind Speed (mph) 9-19. Wind Direction WNW. Sky Cover Overcast. Snow (in) 1 to 3

Avalanche Danger


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

Light snowfall on a snowpack near its tipping point means that avalanche conditions are dangerous. Very large avalanches could run naturally. If you travel in avalanche terrain, you can easily trigger deep avalanches that break near the ground and run far. You can even trigger them from the lower-angled slopes below, so pay close attention to any exposure to big terrain overhead. Steep wind-loaded slopes can produce the largest avalanches, but even in wind-sheltered terrain you can easily trigger an avalanche big enough to bury you. Avoid travel on or below slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.

Ski Partners

Bryan Willard (SPC guest)
Assessment – There is a high degree of uncertainty about conditions, such as when first encountering the terrain for the season, entering new terrain, after a lengthy period with limited observations, or after substantial weather events with uncertain effects.

Select a small amount of conservative terrain in which to operate confidently while more information is gathered to gain confidence in the hazard assessment.


Snowmo to East Ridge of Soda. Attempted to ski North Pole and bailed, too deep. Skied 30* on W ridge (tube?), Poppy fields, Lower Soda ramp and skinned out to Dry Lake


AM Obs: OVC S-1 and calm
PM Obs: OVC S2 with a light W breeze
Hn24: 14″; Hn48: 33″; Ski pen: Knee high. Wicked deep!






Up to S2




Calm Am, Light W Breeze PM



Ski Pen

Top of kneecap

Snowpack Observations

33″ 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.


Conditions were deeper than expected and needed about 30* to be able to move and make turns.

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.


Conditions were so deep that we couldn’t some of the ski low angle terrain we planned on. We kept it super mellow and did more walking than riding.


Need to nail my lines better, particularly when building trails for snowboarders in deep snow,


Deep snow and active settling will affect both the surface snow and avalanche conditions.

Riding Quality

Too deep for the terrain we skied.