Avalanche danger upped to ‘considerable,’ several slides today

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Avalanche danger spiked today, evidenced by both a rating increase to CONSIDERABLE and several incidents in the backcountry.

The Teton Area Nowcast at 7am called for a “considerable” chance of human activity triggering an avalanche above 7,500 feet.

The report stated: “At the mid and upper elevations, strong winds and increasing snowfall rates are creating dangerous avalanche conditions. These rapid loading conditions could trigger natural avalanche activity on a persistent weak layer. Large slab avalanches are possible on a variety of aspects. Human triggered avalanches are likely and due to the volume of the slabs these slides could have severe consequences.”

Wednesday’s slides

At 1pm today, a snowmobiler was partially buried on a run known a Through the Trees at about 8,509 feet. The sledder managed to pull an avalanche bag and his riding party was able to get to him quickly. The slide was estimated at about a 24” crown.

At the same time, a break in Dike Couloir caused a skier to move out of the path of a slow-moving avalanche. It was reported to be a relatively dense, likely wind deposited, new snow break on lighter density aged snow. The avalanche ran the length of the couloir leaving a debris pile in the meadow around 12 inches deep. The slab broke above a skier, but the skier was able to ski off slab as it was not fast moving.

Earlier, at noon, a slab broke in Green River as skier descended over a rollover. It appeared to be from snow/wind deposits from the last two days, and slid on pre- storm surface. The slow-moving slab ran about 40 yards and was skied out of.

At 2:30pm, a snowboarder and skier both aired off 10-foot cliff in Lower Rock Springs. Their impact and sluff off the rockface triggered fractures 20 feet across the face below and slid about 50 feet. There were no burials in the incident.

More snow is on the way tomorrow. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon. Some 3-6 inches is forecasted, more for higher elevations.

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