Southern Colorado Avalanche Report & Forecast

The backcountry steeps of the South San Juan Mountains surrounding Durango are ideal for avalanches. Anyone heading into the backcountry around Durango should understand the risks, and be well educated in Avalanche safety. You should have the proper gear and training to not only survive an avalanche, but hopefully avoid getting caught in an avalanche in the first place.

If you don’t fall into the ‘ready’ category, you can still enjoy our local ski resorts, sledding hills or some gentle cross country skiing or snowshoeing.

The following Durango Avalanche report is published daily by the awesome folks at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center where you can find a full report for Southern Colorado, as well as the other avalanche zones of Colorado.

Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 7:45 AM
Issued by: Bill Nalli

Today

 

Tomorrow

Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
  Danger Scale

  • No Rating
  • 1
    Low
  • 2
    Moderate
  • 3
    Considerable
  • 4
    High
  • 5
    Extreme

Summary

Friday’s storm added a nice refresh but also drifted snow into sensitive drifts. You can trigger avalanches where the wind created dense drifts 1 to 2 feet deep below ridges and cross-loaded terrain features. You are most likely to find these drifts on north to east through south-facing slopes. A slide in the new snow may step down to deeper buried weak layers creating a larger more-dangerous avalanche especially on southeast-facing slopes where we’ve seen avalanches involving fragile crusts during each of our last few storms. 

Cracking and collapsing in the new snow are signs of unstable snow. Avoid smooth, rounded, pillowy-looking drifts. Wind-sheltered slopes less steep than 35 degrees offer safer riding conditions.

 

 

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wet Slab avalanches occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoid avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, or during rain-on-snow events.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 4:27 AM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Temperature (ºF) 26 to 31 11 to 16 28 to 33
Wind Speed (mph) 7 to 17 3 to 13 3 to 13
Wind Direction WSW WNW WNW
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Archived Forecasts

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You can also listen to avalanche forecast recordings from CAIC using the player in the sidebar to the right.

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