THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON December 17, 2018 @ 7:16 am
Snowpack Summary published on December 15, 2018 @ 7:16 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

Welcome to another season of great snowmobiling in the Bridgeport Winter Rec. Area. Today is our official opening to motorized users. For early season conditions we are in great shape with a base depth ranging from 26 to 50 inches. Although, the snowpack has been unevenly distributed across the landscape due to high winds & scouring. Expect wind transported snow to have developed slabs on leeward slopes facing NW-N-NE, with irregular thickness & supportability. Use caution in these wind deposition areas as you could trigger small wind slab avalanches that could knock you off your intended route. Some areas have a noticably stout sun crust that will be hazardous for travel on steeper terrain.

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.

Excersize normal caution today as snow is distributed with irregularity & wind slabs are noticable in lee aspects. High winds yesterday, from the S & SW, will have restripped & redeposited snow to places on the opposing slopes. Now is the time to prepare yourself & your group for scenaios involving avalanches. As they say "Know Before You Go!" & we are here to help you practice. Again we will offer Free Avalanche Awareness Classes & are available 7 days a week at the People's Gate Trailhead for discussion & skill building.

Snowpack Discussion

This early start to the season has generated a heep of snow that has lingered during a period of clear & dry. The absence of precipitation & continued warm temps is effecting the uppermost & bottom layers of the snowpack. In Virginia Lakes it was found there exists a denser top layer of wind-hardened slab, while 6-10cm below that has formed near surface facets that are loose & unsupportable. The likelyhood of catching skis under this wind-skin is high, while triggering an avalanche is unlikely but still possible in isolated terrain features. The diurnal change in air temp has also created facets on the base of the snowpack that may become a future problem. In the BWRA a cornucopia of varying surface snow conditions exist from bare ground to deep supportable wind slabs or sun crusts. Many natural objects are just below a thin veneer of snow and are ready to jump up and grab the unsuspecting. Creek crossings & barely frozen lakes are to be taken with much caution. Leavitt lake is clear blue ice with a thickness of 6", as reported by the Marines.

recent observations

Our BWRA crew has come aboard this week with two new employees (Andy & Joe) who are eager to gather snow info & help create this epic snowmobiling/ recreating area. We have gotten a look at the remnants of this seasons early storm totals in the Leavitt junction & Dunderberg Peak areas. Winds have transported snow to aspects NW-N-NE leaving behind wind slabs of varying thickness & complexity.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 33 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 41 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: SW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 30 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 51 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 26 inches

Today will be cloudy with winds from the S & SW, and temps above freezing. Tomorrow we can expect a small amount of snow later in the day through Monday morning with moderate winds.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Partly cloudy. Partly cloudy then increasing clouds. Mostly cloudy.
Temperatures: 33 to 43 deg. F. 22 to 27 deg. F. 33 to 43 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southwest South South
Wind speed: 10 to 20 mph; gusts to 45 mph 10 to 20 mph; gusts to 40 mph increasing to 50 mph after midnight 15 to 25 mph; gusts to 60 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Mostly cloudy. Mostly cloudy. Partly cloudy.
Temperatures: 25 to 35 deg. F. 18 to 23 deg. F. 25 to 35 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southwest Southwest South
Wind speed: 20 to 35 mph; gusts to 50 mph 20 to 35 mph; gusts to 55 mph 30 to 50 mph; gusts to 75 mph
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.