Snowpack Summary published on March 31, 2019 @ 7:24 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

Fairly good stability exists within the riding terrain of the BWRA, with the caveat of afternoon Loose Wet avalanche activity. Whether intense sunshine & warmth or tomorrow's light rain, look for melting snow to have movement naturally or artificially if you choose to travel on it.

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.

We could see the warmest day of the season with mid 40F's expected around 9000'. Intense sun coupled with progressively warmer nights is allowing the snow to melt rapidly with nearly 3" of settlement in 24 hours. The bonds between snow grains are breaking down & superficially refreezing to shallow depths on the surface at night. Look for the morning glaze or the afternoon shimmer of the surface snow to find where some of the most melting has occurred. Avoid these places while the sun is directly on them in the afternoon hours. All aspects & elevations could be prone to this hazard.

Snowpack Discussion

The snowpack in the BWRA has been well-behaved with no new reported avalanches. Riders were "stepping-out" into large terrain & high-marking in apex starting zones with solid stability. The most melting has occurred below 8500' & on slopes which face SE-S-SW. If venturing above treeline expect to encounted variable surface snow ranging from loose dry to loose wet, & unsupportable to firmly supportable melt-freeze crusts. Wind Slabs have shown to be stubborn to triggering & gaining strength, but there availability is widespread & should still be considered a hazard.

recent observations

~3/30 Warmth & clear skies has the snow melting quickly with settlement rates near 3" per day. Fairly good stability was observed with no new avalanches & many snowmobiles reaching apex starting zones.

~3/28 A fresh 25cm was swirled around by winds & cast on all aspects into shallow Wind Slabs. Moments of heavy Graupel & Rime were observed while conducting pit tests near Koenig. Moderate forces were needed to obtain fracture results in column tests, but no propagations.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 21 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 37 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: Southwest
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: Calm mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: Light mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 100 inches

Today could prove to be the warmest day yet for the spring season. The overnight low temperature at Sonora Snotel 21F while Leavitt's read a degree warmer. Winds will continue to be light & from the Southwest. Tomorrow will change the pattern with mostly cloudy skies & light rain to elevations around 8500'. A chance for snow showers above 8500' is possible as well as a rumble of thunder. Trace amounts of new snow are expected & light winds from the Southwest.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny. Partly cloudy. Snow Level 8500' Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Snow Level 8500'
Temperatures: 42 to 50 deg. F. 25 to 30 deg. F. 41 to 51 deg. F.
Wind direction: Light winds Light winds South
Wind speed: Light winds Light winds 15 mph; gusts to 30 mph later in the day
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny. Partly cloudy. Snow Level 8500' Mostly cloudy with a chance for snow showers in the afternoon. Snow Level 8500'
Temperatures: 35 to 41 deg. F. 20 to 25 deg. F. 33 to 41 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southwest Light winds Southwest
Wind speed: 5 to 10 mph Light winds 15 to 20 mph; gusts to 30 mph
Expected snowfall: in. in. 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.