Friday, March 27, 2009

Rocky Mountain National Park Conditions

The Park received about 14-16 inches over the past 48 hours from a storm that blanketed the Front Range and Central Mountains of Colorado. It’s just what we’ve all been praying for in hopes to keep our snow pack around longer and minimize the fire danger.

This morning Dan Mydans and myself made a few laps in the Terrain Park. We stayed below treeline to allow the new snow to set up a little longer before heading into the bigger terrain. The new snow came in heavy and temperatures were quickly on the rise (24 degrees at about 11am). I was surprised how warm it was this morning. I was definitely overdressed and we were happy to experience no wind at all in RMNP (you can’t say that often in the Park).

With that said, the CAIC ( reported this about the past two days in the Front Range zone: “There was lots and lots and lots of wind transport and drifting on Thursday. Easterly aspects above treeline are stripped or heavily drifted. The snow ended up crossloading and drifting onto other aspects. There were natural, human triggered, and explosive triggered avalanches on almost every aspect Thursday and Friday. The slides were all about a foot deep, and ran on the interface at the bottom of Thursday’s snow. On Thursday observers report, extensive cracking and easily triggered drifts or shallow wind slabs near treeline and in open areas below treeline. Signs of instability like these are indication to stay off steep slopes. Fortunately, the interface is a fairly transient instability and will be settling out through the weekend.”

The avy danger is Moderate with pockets of Considerable for today, Friday March 27th. I would expect this to change over today and tomorrow with the forecasted warm temps and abundance of sunshine. Our next wave looks like it will hit us Sunday night or Monday. Not sure at this time what it will produce.

We are running an AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 avy course this weekend so I hope to have a few more updates by the beginning of next week.

Don’t let the last few weeks of bomber stability lower your guard. These spring storms are great and amazing for skiing but can also produce instabilities in our snow pack.

Stay safe and enjoy the mountains.

Simon Fryer
Sales and Marketing Manager
Colorado Mountain School

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