Strong SW winds accompanied the foot of new snow that fell in the upper portions of the BWRA since Sunday. Upper elevation leeward slopes have been loaded and cornices have formed on ridgetops. Wind slabs will be gaining strength through the week and will be more stubborn but it will still be possible for a human to trigger one on slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Also be aware of large overhanging cornices that are above where you are riding. Though it is nearly impossible to predict when these will break naturally, being caught below one can be dangerous as these can trigger a larger slab avalanche. Do not approach any cornices and give them a wide berth.
It is March now and the sun angle is becoming higher and higher each day increasing the amount of solar radiation received in the mountains. Skies are expected to remain clear this week and temperatures are expected to rise well above freezing leading to likely loose wet avalanches on southerly facing slopes in the afternoon. These avalanches typically start near rock bands and trees and fan out into larger slides once they gain momentum down slope. Though these may be small in size and relatively harmless, these can be dangerous in high consequence terrain. Pay attention to the snow surface on southerly facing slopes in the afternoon and avoid slopes steeper than 35 degrees where roller balls start to form.
Yesterday, several previous wind slab avalanches and cornice failures were observed in the field, including a large natural avalanche that started on a west facing slope below Ski Lake and ran across Leavitt Creek. These likely occurred during the storm on Sunday/Monday as very strong winds loaded new snow onto leeward slopes.
Since Sunday, upper portions of the BWRA received between 6-12" of low density snow, which was accompanied by strong SW winds. High pressure will build in over our area and persist through the rest of the week with steadily warming temperatures and sunny skies. The next system approaches our area on Sunday morning bringing another round of snow to the BWRA.
This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.
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