What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or rider in the Gulmarg backcountry? Read more here.
We ski cut multiple shallow wind slabs yesterday afternoon at and below 3000 meters. These wind slabs could continue to be reactive today above and below 3000 meters, and will be our main focus during avalanche control work today. In addition, we will be testing the new snow/old snow interface for bonding of the new storm snow to the old snow surface. We expect poor bonding above the freezing level, and will be testing the snowpack to see its bonding. Below 3000 meters, be careful on rollovers (convexities), and choose your terrain wisely. You can expect to trigger wind slabs there. In the Alpine, a good reference point for you as you ride up phase 2 is the results you see from our avalanche control work. What slid? What aspect was it on? You can expect to find the same instability in the backcountry. Also take note of the avalanches that occurred during the storm from Drang to G4. Widespread large natural avalanches, a clear sign of instability. Today is the first clear day after the storm, not a time to be testing whether this instability still remains. Give it a day to settle and bond. New snow that was highly reactive to ski cuts fell yesterday on the bed surface of all these old avalanches, and you can expect to trigger avalanches here as well. It’s a good day to stay in the ski area today and avoid the backcountry.
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)
Gulmarg Ski Area (green zone) Timings for 21/3/2016:
Phase 1 – 10:00am – 4:30pm (last cabin at 4:00pm)*
Phase 2 – Opening after avalanche control work is complete-4:00pm (last cabin at 3:30pm)**
Chair Lift – Opening after avalanche control work is complete-4:00pm (last chair at 3:30pm)
*The first phase of the gondola is operating under new hours as of 15 March, 2016. It begins operating at 9:30am, ski patrol goes for control work on phase one, and then we open thereafter.
**Estimated opening time, 1 pm. With the current weather models, phase 2 and the chair lift should remain open until mid-day Friday.
Beacon Training Center on Merry Shoulder is CLOSED. Come by Gulmarg ski patrol base at mid mountain to learn the location of the beacon training area on Merry Shoulder and hone your search skills and times.
Next avalanche talk is Wednesday 23 March, 2016 at 7:30pm at Hotel Hilltop. Hotel Hilltop is located across from the ice skating rink in Gulmarg meadow. Talks will continue every Wednesday night at 7:30 pm through 30 March, 2016.