Observation: Douglas Island

Location: Fish Creek Knob

Route & General Observations

Took the standard skin track up the quarry. Heavy, wet snow at lower elevations, widespread wind and storm slab noted at upper elevations. Our initial plan was to ski the bowl, but decided to ski the rib rider’s right of the bowl instead due to the snowpack structure at the upper elevations (more details below). Performed one ski cut near the top of the run with no results. The riding in that upper elevation snow was great, lower elevations were a classic mashed potato leg burner.

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?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

One D1 debris pile observed on the descent at ~1700ft elevation, likely from yesterday. The terrain the slide occurred on was a particularly steep/rocky section in the trees. The crown line was difficult to see in the terrain.

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

Light rain the first few hundred feet transitioning to light snow. Moderate winds as we neared treeline.

Snow surface

Wet/nearly isothermic snow at lower elevations. Upper elevation (beginning at approximately 1,600ft) snow surface was a mix between soft storm snow and denser wind slab.


No formal stability tests performed, but several hand pits were dug during the ascent. Hand pits showed similar structure across different aspects and elevations: at the surface, a ~10cm dense storm and wind slab layer, on top of ~8cm of lighter/drier snow, then the burly crust formed during the cold snap at the pit bottom. While the slab was stubborn to move for the most part, the set up gave us pause and we elected to ride mellower terrain.