Snowpack Summary published on April 20, 2018 @ 8:11 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

Above normal temperatures will consume our mountains through the weekend. Avalanches caused by Loose Wet snow are likely on all aspects & elevation bands. Minor sluffs are being produced by travelers on steep terrain in the afternoon warmth. Excesize caution especially when temperatures stay above freezing at night. As always we welcome you to come recreate in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. We will be assessing conditions daily & remain open until they are unsuitable. The projected closing date is April 29.

Avalanche Character 1: Loose Wet
Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

Cloudless skies & temperatures above normal will keep Loose Wet avalanches as the primary concern. Tomorrow we could see overnight temperatures remaining above freezing which will exacerbate the issue. Look for the signs of instability on all aspects & elevations. Vegetated & shaded areas could hold the best snow for riding.

Snowpack Discussion

The depth of the snowpack has remained inconsistent all season. The new 10-16" from last week has been blown around & baked onto the terrain. A solid refreeze has taken place each night, & we will again begin to see corn. Melt-freeze crusts will soften with warmth & afternoon sun. Surface Loose wet avalanches are the current problem & will be most likely to emerge with rapid warming. Full snowpit profiles show a wet spring-like snowpack below the stout melt freeze crust. North aspects hold a dramatic contrast in depth to Southern aspects making travel sporty.

recent observations

The new 10-16" of snow that fell on the 15th-16th has been nuked by the sun. Several loose wet avalanches have been observed on steep terrain above treeline, that has been hit with intense sun. Humans have been triggering small Loose wet slides while traveling in avalanche terrain during afternoon warming. Wind slabs that formed since the precipitation are most dense near ridgelines transitioning to soft & unsupportable at treeline. The graupel that accompanied the new snow has not been showing much reactivity, other than an isolated minor step-down Wind slab release.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 28 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 36 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: 49 inches

High pressure has settled over our area & will last through Monday. Sun & above normal temperatures will be experienced. Valleys are forecasted to be around 15F degrees above avaerage. Winds will be light after this morning. Temperatures will struggle to reach freezing in the clear evening sky.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 49 to 55 deg. F. 30 to 35 deg. F. 54 to 62 deg. F.
Wind direction: Light winds Light winds Light winds
Wind speed: Light winds; gusts to 35 mph decreasing to 25 mph later Light winds Light winds
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 43 to 48 deg. F. 27 to 33 deg. F. 48 to 54 deg. F.
Wind direction: North North Light winds
Wind speed: 20 to 30 mph; gusts to 45 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph; gusts to 35 mph later 10 to 15 mph becoming light Light winds
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 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.