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Old 02-16-2012, 11:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
linvillegorge
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Location: Evergreen, CO
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The CO snowpack is a continental snowpack and a bad one at that. It sucks because it's relatively shallow, cold, and dry. A shallow snowpack = a weak snowpack. To make it worse, we tend to get frequent small snows and that leads to a lot of layering. The interaction between these layers varies and creates additional weaknesses.

This year is especially bad because it's a bad snow year. We got very little snow for much of the season and all that snow turned to facets. Facets are basically snowflakes that have rounded off. Think about a nice, fresh snowflake. It has all kinds nice structure and angles to it that bonds well with other snowflakes. Facets don't bond. They create a very weak layer. Now we're starting to get some snow. So on top of this weak layer of facets, we're adding weight and we're adding weight in layers of snow that are relatively well bonded together compared to the base. This creates a slab. When you have a slab sitting on top of a weak layer, you've got the perfect recipe for avalanches. That's what we have now. Shit is fucked.

Yes, the amount of people in the CO BC contributes greatly to the number of deaths, but the CO snowpack really is THAT dangerous.
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