Observation: Turnagain

Location: Magnum & Cornbiscuit

Route & General Observations

Magnum to 3500′, down a SE aspect, up Superbowl and around to the top of Cornbiscuit, then descending a north facing chute (i think it’s chute #4).

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Small (D1) recent natural loose snow avalanches initiating in rocks on southerly aspects of Magnum. Small skier triggered sluffs on steep (38+ degree) slopes. We also observed the toes of slightly larger (D1-1.5) debris piles under a steep south aspect of Cornbiscuit - likely also from loose activity, and potentially skier triggered given tracks though we couldn't see where they initiated. The debris from the Cornbiscuit slides had a different look to it, almost looking wet despite cold temperatures and no real observed impact from the sun on surfaces along our route.

Small chunks of cornice released into PMS bowl midafternoon; they may have been skier triggered with traffic along that ridge. Larger chunks from days prior were present in the Magnum PMS bowl this am, covered in a dusting of snow. Finally, a natural recent cornice fall was seen back behind Kickstep, as pictured below.

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

Clear and cold at the car/in the shadows - single digits! - and it felt a lot warmer on ridgelines in the sun... though weather station data makes it seem like this warm feeling may have just been the sun. Occasional light variable winds.

Snow surface

Generally ski penetration of 3-5" with some ridgelines and lower features scoured down to ~1". Winds have moved around some snow in days prior, evidenced by some texture even well below treeline, but it didn't affect ski quality much along the route. Very steep southerly terrain features evaluated at treeline in the afternoon were just barely moist, and just a thin layer of snow at the surface showed this warming.


No formal stability tests. Ski pole probing revealed softer snow over progressively firmer base in the top 12-18" throughout the day, with the only exception being rocky thin spots in the snowpack right along the ridgeline. A thin crust was present up to 2000' buried about 4-6" down that could be felt while skiing, but this crust too didn't affect ski quality much!

Photos & Video
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