THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 2, 2019 @ 6:13 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 1, 2019 @ 6:13 am
Issued by Kevin Davis - Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Kootenai
Selkirks/Cabinets
St. Regis Basin/Silver Valley

bottom line

Happy New Year everyone!  Looks like we have a beautiful day today for sliding in the mountains with a little fresh snow to touch things up.  Just remember, even though it's a new year and conditions are good, accidents can still happen.  The bottom line is we have some wind slabs on easterly aspects and a couple deeper weak layers to keep in mind.  Pay attention to your terrain choices and watch for signs of instability.

How to read the advisory

Kootenai
Selkirks/Cabinets
St. Regis Basin/Silver Valley

How to read the advisory

Happy New Year everyone!  Looks like we have a beautiful day today for sliding in the mountains with a little fresh snow to touch things up.  Just remember, even though it's a new year and conditions are good, accidents can still happen.  The bottom line is we have some wind slabs on easterly aspects and a couple deeper weak layers to keep in mind.  Pay attention to your terrain choices and watch for signs of instability.

2. Moderate

?

Above Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

2. Moderate

?

Near Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

1. Low

?

Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Wind Slab
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Windy conditions a few days ago has created some stiff winds slabs on easterly aspects.  These areas near ridgelines in the higher elevations will be your main concern today.  

Avalanche Problem 2: Persistent Slab
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

The buried surface hoar layer is still something to consider when looking at bigger and steeper terrain.  This layer is still showing some reaction in stability tests although it is not the culprit for any natural avalanches lately that we know of.  The cold temperatures right now may effect this layer by faceting it further and prolonging its weak characteristics.  We'll just have to see.  Meantime, play it safe and be cautious in the big, steep stuff.

Avalanche Problem 3: Deep Slab
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

We started out the winter with a weak base due to cold temperatures and that structure is still there but patchy and variable as to where you'll find it.  Areas of shallow snowpack and smooth terrain features like bedrock faces and outcrops are the likely places for it to exist.  Triggering this layer is not easy since it is at the bottom of the snowpack but if it did rip, it'd be a biggie.  The cold weather right now is not helping that situation.  Pay attention to your terrain and watch big convexities and areas of shallow snowpack around rocks and such.

advisory discussion

It's a new year.  Make a New Year's resolution to get your A game on.  Be more proactive with your gear and your avalanche knowledge.  A great way to do that is take an avalanche class.  IPAC offers level 1 and 2 classes.  Check out the education page for more information.  Also, the Doug Abromeit Avalanche Scholarship is available to young adults age 14-24.  Write a 400 word essay and win a free avalanche class with IPAC.  Piece of cake!  Check details on our education page.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

The big news for the weather today is COLD.  Temperatures around our forecast region are all in the teens.  Luckily there is only light wind out of the north.  We picked up a trace of snow so you may experience some cold smoke conditions in places.  There is a chance of more snow today with continuing cold and frigid temperatures tonight.  Your chances for experiencing some winds seem to increase the further north you go with moderate west winds in the north Selkirks and gusty west winds in the Purcells.  Watch for new windloading there.

Weather observations from the Region
0600 temperature: 16 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 19 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: NNW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: calm mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 5 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: trace inches
Total snow depth: inches
Disclaimer

Avalanche conditions change for better or worse continually. Backcountry travelers should be prepared to assess current conditions for themselves, plan their routes of travel accordingly, and never travel alone. Backcountry travelers can reduce their exposure to avalanche hazards by utilizing timbered trails and ridge routes and by avoiding open and exposed terrain with slope angles of 30 degrees or more. Backcountry travelers should carry the necessary avalanche rescue equipment such as a shovel, avalanche probe or probe ski poles, a rescue beacon and a well-equipped first aid kit.  For a recorded version of the Avalanche Advisory call (208)765-7323.