Yesterdays strong south-southwest winds combined with moderate snowfall are enough to be a cause for concern today. Cautious and conservative decision making and route finding will be the key to staying safe today in the mountains. Multiple different generations of windslabs are making up the top 5-30" of our snowpack and will range from touchy in less exposed areas to stubborn on more exposed and wind affected slopes. Fresh wind slabs will be developing throughout the day today as well. Keep an eye out for active wind loading, and inspect all slopes before committing to them. Also, all cornices are suspect right now due to the recent wind events. Keep far back from all ridgelines with cornices, especially ones over consequential terrain.
Storm slabs have trouble forming during storms that have moderate to strong winds. However, if you are traveling in steep terrain today that was/is sheltered from the wind use caution due to these slabs being at their prime. The new snow is resting on a wide variation of surfaces including old wind slabs and crusts. If you were to trigger a storm slab it will most likely start small, but could entrain more snow and carry you someplace you don't want to be (cliffs, rocks, trees, creeks, etc.).
Don't let powder fever override your knowledge of avalanches and our snowpack. Good riding conditions will be found today on low angle slopes that were not exposed to the high winds and the resulting layers of wind slabs. Give the snowpack some time to adjust to this new load of snow and wind and keep safe. In low elevations below 6,000' watch for boot penetration due to the wet snowpack that we had prior to the past two days of freezing temps. The crust that formed over the wet snowpack is thin, and if you are sinking into the wet snow more than boot top deep it could mean trouble on any steep slopes due to wet slabs still being a concern...
Tamarack Ski Patrol reported large cornice avalanches with explosives in the morning and affective and productive cornice 'stomping' through the day and afternoon due to the strong south-southwest winds. Also, due to the strong winds and moderate snowfall pillows of wind deposited snow were developing 8-16" deep below the ridgelines on SE-NE facing aspects. In the north half of the advisory area strong winds were also reported with shallow wind slabs being the result.
Well...we got snow and wind, but the major precipitation went south of the advisory area. The mountains around McCall picked up 8-12" on new snow yesterday that equaled over 1" of snow water equivalent. The winds were moderate to strong out of the south-southwest. Today we are forecasted to receive another 2-4" of new snow with winds out of the west-southwest 17-22 mph.
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.