Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Colorado Avalanche forecasts start season with HIGH

Both the statewide Colorado Avalanche Information Center and the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center in Aspen started publishing avalanche forecasts this week, and both agree: early fall storms left a layer of snow that froze and melted until it had a hard, slippery crust. New snow falling on that crust in the last few days has created an unstable pack with a good potential for slab avalanches, especially above treeline. Translation: the danger is HIGH.

The centers track and document each storm (We're up to number eight for this winter), then discuss how the different snow layers left by successive blizzards effect the stability on the ground to give the growing number of backcountry skiers a good idea of the risk level out in the mountains.

Chances are, as temperatures warm, the newest layer will bond to relatively solid layers below and make for epic skiing.

Backcountry skiing god father
Lou Dawson predicted on his blog this morning that if weather patterns continue, this could be an epic year. "While things are dangerous at the moment, we do have a solid base in many areas so when things settle and bond we might be looking at the best snowpack in years, if not this century. If this keeps up big lines will fall."

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