Avalanche Advisory published on November 29, 2017 @ 9:28 pm
Issued by Hannah McGowan - Taos Avalanche Center

Early Season Snowpack Update 2: Tuesday's storm dropped 4-6" of powder snow onto faceted snow from previous November storms.  On high, shady slopes where old snow lingers we have a weak snowpack structure.  Currently this is not a problem, but with future loading it could be.  Winds increased after the storm, potentially creating isolated pockets of wind slab near or above treeline.  Currently, backcountry travel is difficult, but if there's enough snow to ride there's enough snow to slide.

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advisory discussion

Well, at least now it looks like winter in the mountains.  Despite the good looks, backcountry travel is not for the faint of heart, and making turns is severely improbable.  I hope you're hangin' in there.  So far what we're seeing up high are classic (though maybe prolonged) early season conditions, characterized by a shallow snowpack with weak structure.  Snow from the November 7 and November 18 storms is still hanging around on non-solar aspects at higher elevations, and has since become a layer of 2-3mm basal facets.  Looking forward, the weight of more snow being added to the top of the snowpack will stress the structural integrity of this facet layer, and it will most likely become our first layer of concern for the season. 

Our most recent storm (11/28) over-performed, and coverage improved with the 4-6 inches of low density snow that it brought to the mountains.  Hopefully we get lucky again with the moisture headed our way next week.  

Check out this video of early season conditions from yesterday (11/28)  

Keep yur fingers crossed for snow, and in the meantime come out and support us on December 9! Proceeds from the 12 Days of Discounts coupon booklets benefit the Taos Avalanche Center.  We look forward to seeing you there!  

We will update the advisory again on Monday.

The Albuquerque National Weather Service is providing us with a Backcountry Recreational Forecast again this year. Check in daily for your mountain weather forecast.

weather summary

We don't anticipate any precipitation out of today's widespread cloud cover, and the next few days will bring back clear dry conditions.   Our next hope for snow is Tuesday and Wednesday, though the European and GFS models are still in disagreement over the timing and amount of precipitation that we may see.  Let's cross our fingers that the GFS model is more on point, as it favors better dynamics for precipitation across northern New Mexico.  


This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries, Click here for a map of the area. . This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the Taos Avalanche Center who is solely responsible for its content.