Reported Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 5:50 AM
Avalanche Problem #1
Human triggered avalanches remain possible and although naturals may be unlikely, it may not be out of the question on sunny aspects as the mercury rises today.
In the Backcountry
It has been a few days since we have seen any avalanche activity and warm temperatures, calm winds and lack of snow are giving the snowpack the time it needs to gain some strength and start bonding to the old snow layer. There are still reports of easy to moderate test results anywhere from 60-90 cm down from the surface and this is reason for some caution when choosing which slopes to travel on. If the sun warms the snowpack today we may see the weight of a skier or rider penetrating deeper into the snowpack and affecting some of these weaker poorly bonded layers especially around rocks and trees on sunny aspects where the solar radiation may be more intense. Shady aspects seem to be less reactive but the backcountry traveler needs to remember that there is still weak snow such as surface hoar and surface facets buried on these shady aspects that could produce human triggered avalanches.