Public Observation - Avalanche in Canyon Creek, Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Public Observation - Canyon Creek, Southern Whitefish Range
Region: 
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Sat, 02/20/2016 - 12:15
Location Map: 


Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Terrain Trap

Observation made by: Public
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Dry
Slab
Slope: 
35degrees
Trigger type: 
Skier
Crown Height: 
1 ft
Aspect: 
Northeast
Weak Layer: 
Storm Snow
Avalanche Width: 
100ft.
Terrain: 
Below Treeline
Elevation: 
6 200ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Length: 
500ft.
Number of people caught: 
1
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

On Saturday (2/20) two skiers left the ski area boundary at approximately 12:15 for their second lap into the back country adjacent to the ski area. The first skier made 2-3 turns before triggering a small pocket of windslab. This small pocket entrained a substantial amount of storm snow and carried the skier through the trees for an estimated 250 vertical feet. The skier was on top of the debris when it came to rest. The skier sustained minor injuries and was assisted by their travel partner to the groomed trail where they met a snowmobile that transported the injured skier back into the ski area.

*Forecaster note - The skier that was caught and injured in this avalanche was very familiar with this terrain and noted that their familiarity allowed them to let their guard down. It is also worth mentioning that the average crown depth was only 5-6" deep which illustrates that small avalanches can have large, unintended consequence.

Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Static
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Snow was tapering at the time of the event, but prior to the incident heavy precipitation occured in the area.

Activity: 
Skiing