15 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.

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gulmarg avalanche

Snowpack Discussion

15 March 2017 – Avalanche danger above Treeline (>3000m) is Moderate (2) today, natural avalanches unlikely, human triggered avalanches possible.  The main avalanche concern is Wind Slab instability in the top 60 cms of the snowpack. Likely locations are beneath ridgetops and in mid slope isolated terrain features on Northerly aspects. See photo below. The slabs themselves are stiff and difficult to trigger in some locations. There are fresh deeper wind slabs beneath ridgetops that formed overnight yesterday. They are reactive and dangerous.  To manage this avalanche danger choose terrain with a mind for terrain traps (rocks, gullies, trees). Getting caught in one of these small to medium sized avalanches could cause traumatic injury.  At Treeline (2500-3000m) and Below Treeline (<2500m) , avalanche danger is Low (1), natural and human triggered avalanches unlikely. Normal caution advised. Watch out for unstable snow today on steeper Solar aspects at and below treeline. The skiing is widely variable right now, changing significantly from one elevation and aspect to another. Ski carefully to avoid knee or other injury. A D1-sized wind slab avalanche was triggered yesterday by ski cut during control work on a North aspect at 3800 meters.  Height of crown: 60cms (2 feet).

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.

Wind slab avalanches from yesterday on North aspects in South Apharwat Bowl in mid-slope isolated terrain features.

Danger Aspects

Weather Forecast (link:http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Gulmarg/6day/mid)