Updated: December 20th, 2010 12:31 PM

Avalanche danger considerable -- even in valley

Stay away from steep slopes, center says


The Wood River Valley's dumping of snow may give some residents powder fever -- but be careful when heading into the backcountry today, avalanche forecasters warn.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center is calling the avalanche danger "considerable" for all zones and regions today, meaning that medium-sized, human-triggered avalanches are likely to occur in danger zones.

Simon Trautman, forecaster for the center, said in an advisory that while the danger is considerable, it is not necessarily widespread. Still, he advised all recreationists to keep alert around steep, drifted slopes.

"Mornings like this are a no-brainer," Trautman said. "Today is a good day to limit your skiing and riding to lower-angle terrain."

Lower-angle terrain includes anything with a slope of less than 30 degrees.  

The danger, Trautman said, is that there was a heavy new snow load on top of a weak layer and in addition to sustained winds. The winds may have loaded some south-easterly slopes, depositing a slab on a slick, hard layer. The danger near town is considerable, Trautman said, and all valley residents should avoid steep, drifted slopes.


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