Our anticipated storm hammered the San Juans, but the swirling nature of a closed low pressure system did not produce favorable or sustained orographics around Crested Butte, leaving generally light accumulations across our forecast area. At 6am, Irwin and CBMR are reporting 2-4”, upper Cement creek 6”, and Schofield Pass at 9”.
With only light snow accumulations, our avalanche concerns in the backcountry today are relatively minor. Backcountry travelers today should be prepared to manage surface instabilities in the form of shallow windslabs near and above treeline, and wet loose avalanches as the sun destabilizes last night’s new snow. It will not take much sun to first create rollerballs on east facing terrain, quickly becoming larger, pushier wet loose avalanches with continued sun and warming temperatures from east to south to west facing slopes this afternoon. The deeper the snow in your area, the larger potential avalanche problems you may face.
If skiing avalanche terrain today, stay ahead of the sun for best, and safest, riding conditions. Once that snow starts becoming gloppy and wet, move to shadier aspects. Mind your sluff today, and avoid terrain traps (gullies, road cuts, lakes, cliffs) where even a small wet loose avalanche could pile up deeply or push you into unintended terrain.