What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or rider in the Gulmarg backcountry? Read more here.
Avalanche control work yesterday revealed fairly stable conditions above 3400 meters, and wet loose/slab conditions at Treeline (3000-3400m) that were reactive to a ski cut. The avalanche danger today is Moderate (2) above 3000 meters. Human-triggered avalanches are possible, natural avalanches are unlikely. Today and in the coming week will be the warmest days of the season thus far. This gets me starting to think about cornices collapsing. Give cornices a wide berth today, and do not travel underneath them in the warmest part of the day. Above 3900 meters, I’m still concerned about the bond of the new snow to the old snow surface, so Storm Slabs remain on the advisory today as one of the primary problems. In addition, new Wind Slab formation can be seen on Northwest to East facing aspects below ridgetops and in mid-slope isolated terrain features. Above 3800 meters, they are still a concern. Below 3000 meters, the avalanche danger is Low (1). As you ride up the second phase, turn around and look over your right shoulder at the debris over on the flats in Khilanmarg from a natural avalanche two days ago at the end of the storm. Deeper instability is still out there in the Alpine.
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 Decription – 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 28/3/2016:
Phase 1 – 9:30am – 4:30pm (last cabin at 4:00pm)
Phase 2 – 10:00am – 4:00pm (last cabin at 3:30pm)
Chair Lift – 10:00am – 4:00pm (last chair at 3:30pm)
Next avalanche talk is Wednesday 30 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.