Observation: Girdwood

Location: Notch Mtn.

Route & General Observations

We hiked up to the top of the cat track and skied a few laps in some lower angle terrain. We saw a lot of active loading while we were out, with some sensitive fresh wind slabs near the top.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

We got a lot of shooting cracks on some freshly wind-loaded slopes. Some were shooting out ~50', with slabs creeping downhill a little bit even on some really low-angle slopes.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Cloudy skies with light snowfall all day. Calm winds all the way through the approach, but we started to feel the wind at about 1800', with sustained moderate easterly winds picking up speed through the day.

Snow surface

There was about 6" low-density snow on top of a crust to 2000', which was getting blown around above about 1800'. The fresh wind slabs were still pretty soft, and actually skiing quite nicely on the lower-angle slopes.


The fresh wind slabs were touchy, with plenty of shooting cracks. We were pretty careful to avoid the steeper rollovers. From a quick hand pit at about 2200' (higher than the buried crust), the new wind slabs were sitting on a layer of near-surface facets.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.