Observation: Turnagain

Location: Gold Pan / Superbowl

Route & General Observations

Toured up the N ridge of Magnum to Gold Pan. Skied a S aspect from the saddle between the summit of Magnum and the summit of Gold Pan into Gold Pan. Then skied the W aspect from the summit of Magnum into Superbowl. GREAT skiing and even got sunburned! Only sign of instability was lots of sluffing.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments


Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Wind calm to light from the south throughout the day, gusting to moderate at ridgetops. Temps approximately in the low teens at the Sunburst parking lot at 9:30. Very warm in Gold Pan, felt like upper 20's, but maybe it was just the sun.

Snow surface

Surface hoar observed on all aspects at all elevations. ~2cm "leaf" SH below treeline, 3mm plate SH and 1-2 cm "needle" SH in the alpine, sitting on very loose faceted snow (sometimes making for difficult skinning). ~6"+ ski pen. Wind transport only observed in the Magnum uptrack, resulting in skin track being filled back in. The east ridge of Magnum was heavily wind stripped, bare in some places. There are some impressive cornices hovering over Magnum's west aspect, and Gold Pan (see photo).


Hand pits on the N ridge of Magnum showed faceting out, old wind slabs (4F, variable) that were cohesive, but about the same hardness as the layers below them, and quite stubborn to pop out.

Saw a debris pile from a dry loose avalanche in Gold Pan (see attached photo), maybe 30 ft x 50 ft. The trigger is unknown. We later noticed some old ski tracks from the same general direction, so it could have been skier triggered. Sluff from a single turn ran all the way to valley bottom. Also of note were quite large, partially filled in glide cracks in Gold Pan.

Dug on pit on the due south aspect of Gold Pan, near the saddle between the summit of Gold Pan and the summit of Magnum, at ~3800 ft elevation. 42* slope. HS=133 cm. ECTP 29, SP, 50cm below the surface. Failure was at a slight density change between old wind slabs. Did not find any obvious weak layers, like BSH. Abundant basal facets around rocks.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.