Reported Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 5:20 AM
Avalanche Problem #1
The lack of natural avalanches is going to lower the danger rating but the possibility of human triggered avalanches remains very possible.
In the Backcountry
The natural avalanche cycle has begun to taper but the stability is far from good. Our snowpack seems to be plagued with a reactive layer that is not healing very quickly especially on sunny aspects. Even though we may not see naturals today the possibility of human triggered slides remains quite possible particularly on steeper terrain with trigger points such as shallow areas around trees and rocks. Some of these trigger points may not be visible from the surface but may propagate large distances once an avalanche is initiated. Also it may not be the first person on a slope that finds that sweet spot or deficit zone. Remote avalanches were still occurring yesterday which is a big sign that predicting the stability of a slope could be difficult. Time will help the snowpack gain strength but the weak layer is buried deep enough that the direct weather effects are not affecting the bonding characteristics very quickly which means we may still have an unstbale situation in our snowpack.