2 March, 2017

What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or snowboarder in the Gulmarg backcountry? Remember, this advisory is for the Gulmarg backcountry, which means the terrain that is outside of Gulmarg Ski Area. The red areas in the photo below are the Gulmarg backcountry, and the green area is Gulmarg Ski Area. This advisory does not apply to the green zone ski area. Read more here.

For ski area updates during the day please join Gulmarg Avalanche Advisory page on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2jowwOM.


gulmarg avalanche

Snowpack Discussion

2 March 2017 –  Avalanche danger in the Alpine (above 3000 meters) is Considerable (3) today. Wind slabs are the primary avalanche concern on Northerly aspects beneath ridgetops and in mid-slope isolated terrain. Natural avalanches possible, human triggered avalanches likely.  Storm slab avalanches are also possible today on all aspects above treeline.  Avalanche danger at Treeline (2500m-3000m) is Moderate (2). Natural avalanches unlikely, human triggered avalanches possible.  Below Treeline (<2500m), avalanche danger is Low (1). Natural and human triggered avalanches unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.  If you choose to go into the Alpine (above 3000m), it is a day to ski in the ski area

http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/. We now have enough snow in the conifer forests 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.


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Avalanche Problem #1 – Wind Slab

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.

Danger Aspects

Avalanche Problem #2 – Storm Slab

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.

Danger Aspects

Ski Area Timings (2 March 2017)

Phase 1 – 8:15am – 4:30pm (last cabin 4:15pm)
Phase 2 – 8:45am – 4:00pm (last cabin at 3:45pm)*
Chair Lift – 8:45am – 4:00pm (last chair at 3:45pm)*

*These are the regularly scheduled timings of the gondola and chair lift.  We are starting avalanche control work at 7:30am this morning and are planning to open the chair lift and second phase after control work if visibility and winds allow. Check the Facebook page for updates as we work (http://bit.ly/2leE7R1).

Beacon TrainingToday there are (1) beacons buried on Merry Shoulder.  The beacon training area here in Gulmarg is located on Merry Shoulder. The orange dot (see photo below) indicates where a red flag is next to a large birch tree. This is the “point last seen”. Start your search here. We have one, two, and three beacons buried here daily.  Please do not dig up the beacons, simply cycle through your Primary (signal) search, Secondary (flux line) search, Pinpoint search, and then Probing. A probe strike indicates the end of your search. If you’re interested in learning more, please come by Gulmarg Ski Patrol base at the bottom of the chair lift.


Next avalanche talk is Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 7:30pm at Pine Palace Resort. Pine Palace Resort is located in Gulmarg meadow. Talks will continue every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm through 28 March, 2017.