SNOWPACK: Is winter over?

By on April 16, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Another winter season comes to an end. However, just when it feels like spring, winter returns. Warm, sunny days trick us into thinking it is all over, then cold, snowy days remind us it never ends. New snowfall covered slick surfaces. These sliding surfaces may cause avalanches. So approach wind-loaded slopes with caution. Snow depths measure up to eight feet in the mountains at upper elevations, at mid elevations six feet and at lower elevations less than three feet.

Grand Targhee is the only local ski area still open, closing Saturday. That is also the last morning for the Bridger Teton Avalanche Report, leaving backcountry skiers on their own to assess any potential dangers in the snowpack. There have been 17 avalanche fatalities across the West this winter, with the majority the result of small avalanches in extreme terrain. Spring is a great time to explore the mountains covered in snow, but always be extra alert when there is recent snowfall or warming temperatures.

The winter of 1992-93 was not a big snow season. Similar to this year, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed with 348 inches of snowfall in Rendezvous Bowl, but that year more than six feet of snow fell on Garnet Canyon’s north fork saddle in June and July. In the Tetons, wintery conditions and avalanches can occur any month of the year, so always be aware of the snow surrounding you.

About Lisa Van Sciver

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