We have been talking about wind slabs most of the winter so far. Wind slabs are still lingering in the upper elevation areas near ridge tops and in a few pockets where the blowing snow can accumulate. Most of these areas are going to be pretty obvious as a density change or an area of stiffer snow in the otherwise soft snow around them. Look for them below cornices and in natural catcher's mitts like gullies or small depressions on the slope. Look for increasing hazard in these areas as S and SW winds increase tonight. Gusts will increase into the high 20's which will be able to transport any remaining soft snow near the ridgetops.
Small loose, dry avalanches or sluffs should be anticipated on large steep, steep confined slopes or on slopes with obstacles below your intended line. These small slides don't pack a lot of punch but can grab you and push you in a direction you don't want to go whether you are on a sled or skis.
The sun was out yesterday and the backcountry was a busy place. We toured out the ridge from Brundage Mt yesterday and found a lot of folks recreating. The snowpack continues to stabilize and the remaining wind slabs are much less sensitive than they were a few days ago. Ski cuts and Mitt pits on steeper terrain show the same 2 feet of unconsolidated snow resting on a mostly supportive base of snow down to the ice crust near the bottom of our snowpack. Watching folks ride, slide and fall off the steeper NW terrain adjacent to the resort provided some good visual stability clues as well. Small, shallow sluffs continue to be an issue in the steeper terrain but the snowpack is adjusting to last week's snow really well in the areas we have been traveling.
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Look for mostly cloudy skies today with a slight chance of measurable snow tonight. Temperatures today will be close to 22 degrees in the mountains with the temperature inversion in the valleys holding strong. Wind chills in the mountains today will be in the single digits. A chance of snow will remain in the forecast for the next few days as a weak trough of moisture passes through the PAC advisory area.
This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.