Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Sunburst to 2500′. Turned around due to strong NE sustained winds, active wind loading, and poor visibility.

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Active wind loading along ridgetops and at lower elevations. Winds were sustained in the 40's mph combined with light snowfall by 3pm. Small 2" wind slabs tender on test slopes at lower elevations where snow is falling on a crust. Small isolated cracking around on test slopes. No avalanche activity was observed.

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

Snowfall S-1 building to S1 by 3pm
Visibility/sky was obscured
Strong NE winds - sustained 30-40's mph, and blowing snow was observed to 1000' along road
Temps at 2500' ~ mid 20's F.
Rain/snow line was around ~400' (34F at sea level at 3:30pm)

Snow surface

1000'-1800' - firm m/f crust on all aspects with pockets of drifting snow and old snow
2000' - 6" of old snow covering 3cm m/f crust from 2-13-16 storm
2500' - Along ridge there was firm wind scoured old snow with pockets on of 2-4" wind drifted snow on leeward features

*Found some area with surface hoar at lower elevations still sitting on a crust, but was mostly blown over. There were many areas at lower elevation where surface hoar had blown away and crust was scoured.


Dug a pit at 2500' - SW aspect, HS>300cm, Pit Height -110cm, Ski/boot pen: 3”/10”, Tests: ECTN29 40cm below surface at a density change 1cm of (4F hard snow) Was unable to identify grains due to strong winds and blowing snow in pit, similar location (elevation/depth 40cm) as stellar interface observed earlier this week post valentines weekend storm. See photo diagram for more details. Overall good structure, high strength, and no propagation potential.

Photos & Video
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