What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or rider in the Gulmarg backcountry? Read more here.
Yesterday at the top of the chair lift (3400 meters), we found 85 cms of new storm snow, and easy shears within the new storm snow, along with a planar shear beneath the new snow/old snow interface. While skiing the ridge top down to the dhabas, we ski cut numerous small to medium-sized storm slab avalanches. The current storm cycle began cold, then turned warm, and then turned back to cold again. This has created an “upside-down” storm snow stratigraphy. Simply put, there is heavier snow on top of lighter snow, and this heavier snow is prone to avalanching on top of the lighter snow.
Above 3000 meters, the avalanche danger today is Considerable (3). Below 3000 meters, the avalanche danger today is Moderate (2).
Choose to ride in groups in the forests of Gulmarg. http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/. We now have enough snow in the conifer forests above 3200 meters for skiers and riders to get trapped in tree wells. Read more about this phenomenon in the link above. It causes several fatalities each year in other ski regions of the globe.
Avalanche Problem #1 – Wind Slab
Problem Description – Release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
Wind Slabs form in specific areas, and are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features. They can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind-scoured areas.
Avalanche Problem #2 – Storm Slab
Problem Description – Release of a soft cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within the storm snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slab problems typically last between a few hours and few days. Storm-slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
You can reduce your risk from Storm Slabs by waiting a day or two after a storm before venturing into steep terrain. Storm slabs are most dangerous on slopes with terrain traps, such as timber, gullies, over cliffs, or terrain features that make it difficult for a rider to escape off the side.
Weather Forecast (link:http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Gulmarg/6day/mid)