THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON January 26, 2018 @ 11:00 am
Snowpack Summary published on January 24, 2018 @ 11:00 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

(BWRA CLOSED) After an extremely short hiatus from government spending we are back, cranking out avalanche & snowpack observations for you. We are getting very close to an opening snow depth of 24" evenly spread across the mountains. Thank you for the patience during our weathers preparation time, we appreciate it. Conditions are in a good state currently but will dramatically change tonight. This forecast is for the present time & alluding to tonight's precipitation & wind scouring. Search amongst friends & riding partners; there has got to be someone you know who could benefit from FREE avalanche education. We have the next Avalanche Awareness Clinic slated for February 2-3 with the classroom session @ the Douglas County Community & Senior Center In Gardnerville, NV 6:00pm. Keep checking this website for an Opening Update.

Avalanche Character 1: Normal Caution
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Use normal caution when travelling in the backcountry.

The snowpack has had lots of time to settle in the sunshiny warmth & we are seeing less reactivity in our persistent slab issue. Soft snow near & below treeline is in good condition, making for nice snowboard turns. Complacency is the devil & forgetting that avalanches are possible is ignorant. Dig, discuss & determine where the safe riding is!

Avalanche Character 2: Wind Slab
Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Winds with this storm will be of GALE strength. Gusting to 105 mph tonight are forecasted! Winds will start from the South & shift to Southwest today. Expect loading on North through Northeast aspects, which is where the majority of our snowpack already exists. The fetch of these winds will dramatically blow snow from ridgetops to settling areas in & below treeline. Cross-loading of terrain gullies & slide path features will be prevalent & hazardous for traveling.

Avalanche Character 3: Persistent Slab
Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Although relatively benign, this factor of our seasonal snowpack remains in place. At 77cm deep a persistent (rounding facet) weak layer still exists. The facetted grains that linger here are going through a process of metamorphisms to a more stable grain type. This has been a long succession but will aid in stabilizing our more shallow snowpack. Dig around & be familiar with these layers & the problems they may present to you as a traveler of the alpine.

Snowpack Discussion

Relatively good/safer snowpack conditions exist with no current red flag warnings. Although tonight's storm system will change that scenario. Wind slabs will be created tonight & storm slabs could be touchy for the next few days. Our persistent slab hazard has subdued itself presently, but may likely reemerge with the additional weight of new snow.

recent observations

We are getting very close to an opener people. Sharpen carbides, change out your beacon batteries, & brush up on your rescue skills! Next FREE Avalanche Awareness Clinic is February 2-3 at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center 6:00pm. Anyone can come to the talk, registrations are necessary for the Field-Day component.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 35 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 43 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 19 inches

Today warm & dry air will be substituted for cold & windy. Snow is forecasted to enter the picture later this afternoon & through Thursday. Our typical raging winds are in store as well with possible gusts to 105 mph in the alpine late this evening. Total snowfall amounts remain moderate around 4-8". Forecasts predict a period of intense snowfall rates with accumulations of 2-3" per hour!

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy Cloudy with snow Mostly cloudy then becoming partly cloudy
Temperatures: 38 - 44 deg. F. 16 - 22 deg. F. 22 - 30 deg. F.
Wind direction: South Southwest Southwest
Wind speed: 20 to 30 mph increasing 25 to 40 later; gusts to 70 mph 30 to 45 mph, gusts to 80 mph decreasing 20 to 30 mph; gusts to 65 mph 15 to 25 mph; gusts 50 mph decreasing to 40 mph later
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 2 - 6 in. 1 - 3 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Partly cloudy with increasing clouds later Cloudy with snow Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers increasing later
Temperatures: 30 - 37 deg. F. 8 - 13 deg. F. 15 - 21 deg. F.
Wind direction: South shifting Southwest Southwest Southwest
Wind speed: 35 to 55 mph increasing 45 to 60 mph later; gusts to 90 mph 50 to 70 mph; gusts to 105 mph decreasing 40 to 60 mph; gusts to 95 mph late 30 to 45 mph; gusts to 75 mph decreasing 20 to 30 mph; gusts to 45 mph later
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 2 - 6 in. 1 - 3 in.

This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.