Skier triggered wind slabs on Sawtooth Pk

Location Name: 
West face sawtooth pk
Region: 
Lick Creek Area
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Sat, 01/07/2017 - 14:04
Location Map: 
United States
44° 59' 25.9476" N, 115° 55' 44.3244" W
US


Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Public
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Slab
Slope: 
35degrees
Trigger type: 
Skier
Crown Height: 
Less than 1 ft
Aspect: 
Northwest
Weak Layer: 
Other - explain below
Avalanche Width: 
40ft.
Terrain: 
Near Treeline
Elevation: 
7 800ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Length: 
60ft.
Number of similar avalanches: 
2
Number of people caught: 
1
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

Group of 3 out touring west aspect of Sawtooth Peak via Snowlide Lake. Skiers observed increasing winds out of the SE while touring north along the ridgeline. These winds were quickly creating fresh wind slabs on WNW slopes. Group began descent before reaching summit of Sawtooth Peak, skiing one at a time, triggering minor small sloughs and observing fracturing in small isolated pockets. Skiers regrouped and identified a safe zone at the bottom of the slope. The first skier to exit the zone triggered a wind slab that was directly below a small rock feature with a crown 6-8 in. deep and approx 40 feet wide. The skier was carried approx 40 ft and stopped before a small group of trees and was able to self rescue and exit the debris without burial or injury. It seemed more apparent after the event that overnight changes in winds resulted in wind slabs in atypical locations.   

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Static
Wind Direction: 
Southeast
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Calm and cold morning with overcast skies led into storm conditions with increased wind spead and blowing snow.