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.

Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 7:13 AM
Issued by: Chris Bilbrey

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.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   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

Avalanche conditions are slowly moderating, but trouble still lurks on many slopes. You can still trigger an avalanche today on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, despite reduced signs of unstable snow. Any slope where weak snow sits below a stiff slab is a dangerous combination and the perfect recipe for avalanches. This concerning snowpack structure exists on slopes facing northwest to north through east near and above treeline.

Continued drifting in the alpine will help thicken newly formed wind-drifts below ridges and in cross-loaded terrain features. We anticipate drifting to be more pronounced in the western half of the zone where recent snowfall has been deeper. These drifts formed on a variety of old snow surfaces, may be reactive to ski pressure, and can move quickly downhill. Lens-shaped pillows help identify heavily wind-loaded areas and heed the warning signs of cracking and collapses. Shallow areas near the edge of a slab or near rock outcrops is where it is easier for you to impact buried weak layers. Generally safer and blissful riding conditions can be found in wind-sheltered, lower angled terrain.  

 

 

 

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


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


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 Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 12:39 PM by Spencer Logan Statewide Weather Forecast
  Thursday Night Friday Friday Night
Temperature (ºF) 15 to 20 25 to 30 15 to 20
Wind Speed (mph) 15 to 25 10 to 20 10 to 20
Wind Direction W W SW
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 2 0 to 1 1 to 4

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

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

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