What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or rider in the Gulmarg backcountry? Read more here.
Snow forecasted to arrive this evening and continue in the coming days. Control work yesterday morning revealed reactive wind slabs beneath lee ridgetops, and poor bonding within the recent storm snow. We triggered avalanches that were large enough to bury and kill a skier or rider with merely a ski cut. Instability persists in the Gulmarg backcountry. We cannot recommend backcountry travel today. Wind slabs exist beneath ridgetops and in mid-slope isolated terrain features. Storm slabs exist everywhere above 3000 meters. Today is a day to think, “Am I getting away with this, or am I choosing terrain that is appropriate after seeing the massive avalanches that released yesterday in the ski area?” As pretty as it looks in the backcountry today, the same instability is there as well and only needs a trigger.
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)