Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Red Mtn. Pass Skiing Conditions

For those of you who will be making a few turns in between ice climbs, here is an update on backcountry skiing conditions on Red Mtn. Pass.

It has been a good winter for skiing in the San Juans and with another storm on its way tomorrow, all indications suggest the quality turns will continue.

The high winds of last week, which have blown from the north, west, and south, have adversely affected the snow above treeline.  These winds have built stiff labs on lee aspects and have scoured windward areas.   In addition to increasing avalanche danger, this has created poor conditions for skiing in many areas.  

Currently the best snow quality is found below treeline in areas protected from the wind.  In particular, savvy skiers will seek out shady, north facing aspects where near faceted snow has been producing excellent powder like conditions.  However, due to the strength of recent southerly winds, even ski runs below treeline may have new windslabs to watch out for.  

To view an updated avalanche forecast and snowpack discussion, please visit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website at