Eastern.SkierMy family and I are going out West this spring break and we have gone before but this year I would like to get into the backcountry. As I am learning more about skiing backcountry I have come to learn about how dangerous avalanches are. My question is what would be the ideal conditions to avoid avalanches. I know the snow can cause avalanches when the top hardens over the soft bottom. So should the snow be warmer, or is coldest possible better? Or should it be in the middle?
Ski In Peace to the skiers that were killed in the recent avalanche. Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle. No one deserves to die that young.
Don't get yourself killed, take an avy course, well worth your time, look out for wind loaded surfaces, watch out for heavy snowfall on top of variable conditions, this will create a loaded face and could fracture without any action on the part of us skiers, this is most common where I am from and it is how many skiers die annually throughout the NW mountains.
Avoid low tree cover zones and ski with others at all times, taking turns, watching each other make it to a pre planned safe zone near a clump of trees on a ridge, safely in a zone that is less exposed and will create a barrier and a get out location if an avy does happen. Study the layers before skiing extensively in the backcountry.
Ski with people who know the areas well before jumping in with your buddies. Use all the gear all the time (atgatt) make sure you have a beacon, prob, shovel, the ten essentials(map, compass, matches, lighter, knife, first aid kit, sun pretection / heat blanket, and energy bars), and a pack that allows these items to be easily accessible in emergency situations.
To answer your question though, outside temps don't matter for the avy conditions at that time. You need to look at previous days and understand avalanche forecasts online and once you are at the mountain. These variables can change throughout the day. I have been in a few avy situations and many times I have felt like the day was perfect, we checked in the morning, the snow was looking stable but little did me and my buddies know that we had nearly been killed by the Tunnel Creek Avalanche that took the lives of 3 skiers a few years back.
Another time, we were skiing rooster comb at Stevens and we came to a ridge and my brother took a cut as a precautionary measure and was almost taken away by a 2' deep slab, if he hadn't grabbed a small tree he probably would have been buried.
Morally of the story, be safe, know before you go and don't make life more difficult for experienced backcountry skiers, patrollers, and your family by getting yourself hurt or killed. Don't just follow my words but go out and take the avy course and learn from true experts and the guys who my have to save your life if you aren't smart.