Sawtooth Avalanche Center warns of 'very dangerous avalanche conditions'

Posted at 4:39 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 10:13:51-05

Avalanche warnings are in effect, according to the Backcountry Avalanche Forecast.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center is monitoring conditions closely to help keep Idahoans safe.

“At least one of us is out in the field every single day. We go out and we are looking at how much it snowed, and we are looking for signs of instability, cracking, collapsing and looking for avalanche activity,” said Ben VandenBos, an Avalanche Forecaster for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

Avalanches can occur anywhere that gets lots of snow with steep slopes, according to VandenBos. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center’s forecasts are based on conditions such as terrain, weather and the snow-pack in the Backcountry.

Checking forecasts and knowing what terrain to avoid is key.

“The most obvious sign of the potential for more avalanche activity is seeing other avalanches, but an individual slope will look smooth and powdery and soft right up to the point that the week layer at the base of that slope fractures, and then the entire slope fractures,” said VandenBos.

Instability can be indicated by looking at flatter terrain which may show cracks and snow-pack settling.

More opportunities to learn more about avalanche safety can be found on the Sawtooth Avalanche Center's Idaho Avalanche Education calendar.