Winter Park Resort just got slammed with their biggest storm of the season and in the last 72 hours alone, the front range ski area is reporting a whopping 31.5″.
The new snow has pushed the resort’s base up to 91″, which as of now is the deepest snowpack in all of Colorado. Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are tied for second with 73″ at their respective high elevation snow plots.
All that late season snow is creating a dangerous avalanche cycle and it’s as good as time as ever to remind our readers that avalanches can happen inbounds as well– especially in areas that are closed for that exact reason.
Avalanche Summary [CAIC]
The Front Range zone saw another 5 to 10 inches of new snow Sunday night, with 3-day accumulations between 2 and 4 feet. You can trigger a large avalanche in the recent storm snow on any slope steeper than around 30 degrees today. Avalanches are more likely in wind-drifted areas at higher elevations, where sensitive slabs are several feet thick. Cracking from your skis or snowmobile is a clear warning sign of unstable conditions. Due to the wet nature of the recent storm snow, these avalanches will carry significant mass and destructive potential. Escape from even a small avalanche may prove impossible.
Unstable snow may also exist at lower elevations, due to warm temperatures and recent rainfall. Steeper slopes with unsupportable, slushy snow surfaces are dangerous. Rollerballs, pinwheels, or dribbling snow off rocky slopes are clear indications of increasing danger. If you observe these signals, quickly move to colder, more supportable slopes.
With significant precipitation over the past 72 hours, larger avalanches breaking near the ground are possible. You many not experience any warning signs before these avalanches break. Conservative terrain selection and smart travel practices are key to avoiding this problem.
Find the full forecast here: Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Find up-to-date snow reports for Colorado here: OnTheSnow.com/colorado/skireport