Virginia Lakes

Location Name: 
Virginia Lakes
Region: 
Other Area
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Sat, 01/06/2018 - 13:13
Location Map: 


Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Obvious avalanche path

Observation made by: Avalanche Specialist
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Slab
Slope: 
36degrees
Trigger type: 
Snowboarder
Crown Height: 
1 ft
Aspect: 
North
Weak Layer: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Width: 
40ft.
Terrain: 
Below Treeline
Elevation: 
9 778ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Length: 
25ft.
Number of similar avalanches: 
3
Number of people caught: 
0
Number of partial burials: 
0
Number of full burials: 
0
Did the avalanche hit a building, vehicle, or structure?: 
No
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

 Sunny patches came & went with the scouring winds. I noticed a very recent loose wet slide to my north (pic 4)R1D1. Then I noticed some mid-storm avalanches of the slab variety to my west (pic 5)R2D1. As I ventured along I found this perfect test slope that was developing a small cornice. It took only light-moderate pressure from me crossing above the cornice for cracking & full propagation to occur. The newly drifted 12" & a previously deposited 4" wind slab released to my layer of primary concern in pit tests. There is clear evidence to suggest that wind-loaded & cross-loaded slopes over 35 degrees are ripe for easily triggered avalanche propagations. With this small scale representation we can see new & old snow deposits/ slabs sit atop a layer within the snowpack which contains poor stability.

Avalanche Photos: 
Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Virginia Lakes
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

As I drove through the sun to Virginia Lakes I encountered a wall of clouds @ 9000'. From the cloud wall snow began to increase on the road to around 9" by the time I got to the campground. Winds were swirling but mostly out of the SW & snow transport was happening. Sunny patches came & went with the scouring winds.