X Elevation Bands: Upper Elevation refers to the region where wind plays a dominant role in shaping the mountain snowpack. Alpine cirques, bowls, and exposed ridges are examples of this terrain. Trees are very sparse or do not exist at all. This zone receives more snowfall than Middle and Lower Elevations, but the wind can aggressively redistribute the snow and create large expanses of bare rock or ground in the middle of winter. Snowpack depths can vary greatly at Upper Elevations. Lower Elevation terrain includes slopes within a few hundred vertical feet of valley floors in the major drainages. This includes avalanche paths that can block rivers, strike roadways and large glacial lakes, and bury cross country ski trails. This band receives the least snowfall – and the most rain – of the three elevation bands. Middle Elevation terrain receives less snowfall than Upper Elevations, but the snowpack depths vary less due to less wind. Over the course of an average year, avalanches occur most frequently at Upper Elevations and least often in Lower Elevation terrain.
X
Avalanche Danger Rose: this graphic represents an avalanche forecaster's idea of how the avalanche danger exists across the topography in a given region. It is not a map...it is an idea. Picture it as a cone-shaped mountain viewed from above, built of three elevation bands; the outer ring represents low elevations, the middle ring represents middle elevations, and the innermost circle represents high elevations. Each elevation band is divided into sectors that represent the slope aspect (N-NE-E-SE-S-SW-W-NW). Each sector\'s color represents the avalanche danger rating assigned that day (see Avalanche Danger Scale).

In this example, the Avalanche Danger Rose depicts an avalanche danger rating of considerable on all high elevation aspects and on north to west-facing mid elevations; all other sectors possess moderate avalanche danger. The illustration depicts the spatial distribution of this forecast across a landscape.
X Wind Slabs: A relatively cohesive layer that forms when wind deposits snow on the lee side of ridges, gullies, and other terrain features. These slabs may be soft or extremely hard and can take up to a week to stabilize.
X Persistent Slabs: Avalanches that slide on a persistent weak layer such as facets or surface hoar. You can trigger them remotely and they often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine wind and storm slabs. Unstable conditions may linger for weeks.
X
Avalanche Problem Rose: this graphic represents an avalanche forecaster's idea of the distribution of a particular avalanche problem across the topography in a given region. Picture it as a cone-shaped mountain viewed from above, built of three elevation bands; the outer ring represents low elevations, the middle ring represents middle elevations, and the innermost circle represents high elevations. Each elevation band is divided into sectors that represent the slope aspect (N-NE-E-SE-S-SW-W-NW). Sectors colored grey are thought to have the identified avalanche problem while white sectors do not.

In this example, the Avalanche Problem Rose indicates that a particular avalanche concern exists on all high elevation aspects and on north to west-facing mid elevations and that this concern is far less likely to be encountered on other aspects and elevations.
X Chance of Avalanches: This graphic depicts how likely you are to trigger avalanches or encounter natural avalanches while traveling on avalanche prone slopes. Unlikely means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. The chance of triggering or observing avalanches increases as we move up the scale. Certain means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches should be expected.
X Size of Avalanches: This graphic depicts the potential size and destructive force of expected avalanches. Small avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become large enough to bury, injure, or kill people, large enough to bury or destroy vehicles and break a few trees, and large enough to destroy railway cars, buildings, or a substantial amount of forest. Historic avalanches are massive events capable of destroying villages and gouging or altering the landscape.
X

LOW: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

X

MODERATE: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

X

CONSIDERABLE: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.

X

HIGH: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

X

EXTREME: Avoid all avalanche terrain.

Current Forecast
Thursday January 17, 2019 7:30 am by Scott Savage

All Zones | Sawtooth Mountains | Smoky & Boulder Mountains | Wood River Valley | Soldier Mountains

Smoky & Boulder Mountains - Bottom Line

Snowfall and wind are creating very dangerous conditions. Natural avalanches will become likely. Avoid all wind-loaded avalanche terrain, including the flat areas below large avalanche paths. The AVALANCHE WARNING includes the southern portion of this zone - the mountains near Baker Creek.

4. High

Upper Elevation

Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

3. Considerable

Middle Elevation

Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.

2. Moderate

Lower Elevation

Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

Primary Avalanche Problem

Wind Slabs

Location

Almost Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely

Chance

Historic
Very Large
Large
Small

Size

NOTE: If you're traveling in or near Baker Creek, refer to the Wood River Valley Zone Forecast.

The combination of snowfall and wind is forming fresh wind slabs in exposed terrain. Expect the slabs to become thicker, wider, and more sensitive during the day. Natural avalanches are likely, and human-triggered slides will become more likely as the snow piles up. Slabs are largest and most widespread at upper elevations.

The new slabs are burying slick crusts, weak faceted snow, decomposing snow, and possibly some surface hoar. Stability may be better on certain aspects, but patterns will be difficult to identify. Poor visibility will make it tough to see the drifts, complicating the situation.

The travel advice is simple: avoid wind-loaded terrain. The wind is strongest at upper elevations; here, avoid all avalanche terrain, including the runout zones of avalanche paths. With better stability and better skiing and riding conditions in sheltered areas, you won’t be missing anything if you steer clear of the windier, more dangerous places.

Secondary Avalanche Problem

Persistent Slabs

Location

Almost Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely

Chance

Historic
Very Large
Large
Small

Size

The current snowpack layering is complex. When things get complex, I go back to the basics:
- Is there a weak layer? Yes, potentially several.
- Is there a slab? Yes, and it’s growing quickly, especially in windy areas.
- Any recent loading? Yes, a significant storm in progress.

When you have all the ingredients for an avalanche, figuring out how to travel is simple; avoid steep slopes with a slab above weaker snow. Because the weak layers are so widespread, this includes all wind-loaded terrain.

Where are you most likely to trigger larger, wide avalanches involving sugary, faceted snow?
- In wind-loaded terrain.
- In areas where the snowpack is shallow - less than about 3 feet deep.

If you experience snowpack whumphing or collapsing, definitely steer clear of avalanche terrain. You may be able to trigger slides remotely: from the sides, above, or from flat ground below steep slopes. Think about the consequences of being caught in a slide before committing to skiing or riding any steeper slopes.

Weather Forecast

Smoky & Boulder Mts

Last Night
5PM - 5AM

Today
5AM - 5PM

Tonight
5PM - 5AM

Temperature

22 F 28 F 14 F

Cloud Cover

Obscured Obscured Mostly Cloudy

Ridgetop Wind Speed

Moderate Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

SE SE SW

Snowfall

24hr: 4-8" 12hr: 4-8"
3-6" 1-4"

Mountain Weather Summary

Yesterday, a lull between weather systems created variable conditions: flurries and snow showers, some sun, and some clouds. Winds were mostly light from the S-SE, and temperatures reached the 20s F. Overnight, snowfall began as a potent Pacific storm moved into southern Idaho and the central Rockies, favoring the southern portions of our Forecast area. As of 5AM, snowfall amounts ranged from 6-10” near Ketchum and Fairfield, 4-8” near Galena Summit, and 2-4” in the Sawtooths. Temperatures remained steady or rose overnight, and SE winds increased to moderate to strong speeds.

Today is a “storm in progress” day. Heavy snowfall this morning should taper off during the day. By evening, storm totals should approach 6-16”, favoring the southern mountains. The Soldier Mountains look like they are in the bullseye today. Temperatures are forecast to warm slightly to the upper 20s F, and moderate to strong SE-S winds shift westerly this afternoon.

Tonight, light snow showers continue, depositing an additional 1-4” of snowfall. The Sawtooths could receive 3-6”. Temperatures cool to the teens and 20s F, and moderate to strong W winds blow on the ridgetops. We’re in between systems on Friday, and snowfall should resume on Saturday.

Sawtooth Mountains

Sawtooth Mountains

Last Night
5PM - 5AM

Today
5AM - 5PM

Tonight
5PM - 5AM

Temperature

26 F 29 F 18 F

Cloud Cover

Obscured Obscured Obscured

Ridgetop Wind Speed

Moderate Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

SE SE SW

Snowfall

24hr: 2-4" 12hr: 2-4"
2-4" 3-6"

Smoky & Boulder Mountains

Smoky & Boulder Mts

Last Night
5PM - 5AM

Today
5AM - 5PM

Tonight
5PM - 5AM

Temperature

22 F 28 F 14 F

Cloud Cover

Obscured Obscured Mostly Cloudy

Ridgetop Wind Speed

Moderate Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

SE SE SW

Snowfall

24hr: 4-8" 12hr: 4-8"
3-6" 1-4"
           

Wood River Valley

WRV Mountains

Last Night
5PM - 5AM

Today
5AM - 5PM

Tonight
5PM - 5AM

Temperature

24 F 27 F 20 F

Cloud Cover

Obscured Obscured Mostly Cloudy

Ridgetop Wind Speed

Moderate Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

SE SE SW

Snowfall

24hr: 4-8" 12hr: 4-8"
4-8" 1-3"
   

Soldier Mountains

Soldier Mountains

Last Night
5PM - 5AM

Today
5AM - 5PM

Tonight
5PM - 5AM

Temperature

21 F 25 F 17 F

Cloud Cover

Obscured Obscured Mostly Cloudy

Ridgetop Wind Speed

Moderate Strong Strong

Wind Direction

SE S W

Snowfall

24hr: 6-10" 12hr: 6-10"
4-8" 2-4"
               

Observations

Please the Avalanche Center to delete an observation.

All observations submitted by the public are not screened, edited, or checked for accuracy by the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

View Date(s) Submitted Observer Zone Location
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 14, 2019 Jan 14, 2019 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Between Frenchmans/Headwaters
View Attachment Jan 14, 2019 Jan 14, 2019 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Paradise, Pinyon
Jan 13, 2019 Jan 14, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Pole Cr/Twin Cr Divide
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 12, 2019 Jan 13, 2019 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Mushroom Ridge and Gladiator
View Attachment Jan 12, 2019 Jan 13, 2019 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Imogene
View Attachment View Attachment Jan 11, 2019 Jan 13, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Butterfield
View Attachment Jan 12, 2019 Jan 12, 2019 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Snowslide, Elk Creek, Pinyon
View Attachment View Attachment Jan 11, 2019 Jan 12, 2019 Public Banner Summit Just inside the Hwy 21 Avy Canyon
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 11, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 SAC Wood River Valley Warm Springs Ck - Baldy OB north side
View Attachment Jan 11, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Northern end of Sawtooths
Jan 10, 2019 - Jan 10, 2019 Jan 10, 2019 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Newmans CR. Butterfield
View Attachment View Attachment Jan 9, 2019 Jan 9, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Baker Ck (Baker-Brodie divide)
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 8, 2019 Jan 8, 2019 SAC Soldier Mountains Soldier Creek, Soldier Cat Ski Terrain
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 8, 2019 Jan 8, 2019 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Glassing from Stanley to Beaver Creek
View Attachment Jan 7, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Summit: Cross OFF DUTY
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 7, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Roadside Obs from Hailey to Galena Pass
Jan 7, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 Public Soldier Mountains Soldier Creek Drainage
View Attachment View Attachment Jan 7, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 Public Soldier Mountains Just before and after Soldier Mountain Ski Area
Jan 7, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 Public Soldier Mountains Soldier Mountain Plot at 8,000'
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 6, 2019 Jan 7, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Baker Creek
Jan 5, 2019 Jan 5, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Butterfield
Jan 4, 2019 Jan 4, 2019 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Twin Bowls
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 4, 2019 - Jan 4, 2019 Jan 4, 2019 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Pass
View Attachment Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019 Public Soldier Mountains Soldier Cat Ski Area, Elk Point
View Attachment Jan 1, 2019 Jan 3, 2019 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridge
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 1, 2019 - Jan 1, 2019 Jan 1, 2019 Pro Mores Creek 12-Mile Creek Drainage - Freeman Peak
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Jan 1, 2019 Jan 1, 2019 SAC Soldier Mountains Near Lower Soldier Weather Station
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 31, 2018 Jan 1, 2019 SAC Glassing en route to powder skiing
Dec 31, 2018 Jan 1, 2019 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridge
Dec 31, 2018 Jan 1, 2019 Public Sawtooth Mountains Marshall
View Attachment Dec 31, 2018 Dec 31, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Beaver Creek
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 31, 2018 Dec 31, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains South of McDonald Peak
View Attachment Dec 31, 2018 Dec 31, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Pinyon, Paradise, Snowslide
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 29, 2018 - Dec 30, 2018 Dec 31, 2018 Pro Mores Creek Mores Creek and Summit Creek Drainages
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 30, 2018 Dec 30, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridge
Dec 29, 2018 Dec 30, 2018 Public Wood River Valley White Clouds Golf Course
Dec 29, 2018 Dec 29, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Vienna Mine
View Attachment Dec 27, 2018 - Dec 29, 2018 Dec 29, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains East Fork Baker
View Attachment Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Williams Peak East Shoulder
View Attachment Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains South Fork Boise, Snowslide, Pinyon
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 27, 2018 Dec 27, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Horton Peak area
View Attachment Dec 26, 2018 Dec 26, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Peak - West Arm
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 26, 2018 Dec 26, 2018 SAC Wood River Valley Warm Springs Ck - Baldy OB north side
View Attachment Dec 26, 2018 Dec 26, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Paradise, Skillern
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 25, 2018 Dec 25, 2018 SAC Wood River Valley Dollarhide - Shaw Mountain
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 23, 2018 - Dec 24, 2018 Dec 25, 2018 Pro Mores Creek Mores and Summit creeks
Dec 24, 2018 Dec 25, 2018 Public Sawtooth Mountains Copper Mountain
Dec 24, 2018 Dec 24, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Baker Creek
Dec 23, 2018 Dec 23, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Frenchmans
Dec 22, 2018 Dec 23, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Goat Peak
View Attachment Dec 22, 2018 Dec 22, 2018 Public Banner Summit South East slope 8500'
Dec 22, 2018 Dec 22, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Mushroom Ridge
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 22, 2018 Dec 22, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Pacer, Paradise
Dec 21, 2018 Dec 22, 2018 Public Wood River Valley Between Owl and Prairie Creek Drainages - Unknown peak name
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 21, 2018 Dec 21, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Copper Mountain
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 20, 2018 Dec 20, 2018 SAC Soldier Mountains Couch Summit/Salt Bowns Creeks
View Attachment Dec 20, 2018 Dec 20, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Avalanche Pk
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 19, 2018 Dec 20, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Peak
View Attachment Dec 19, 2018 Dec 19, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Pass, Tweener on cross
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 19, 2018 Dec 19, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains glassing Ketchum-Galena Summit
Dec 19, 2018 - Dec 19, 2018 Dec 19, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Bigwood Drainige, Tweener Ridge
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 18, 2018 Dec 19, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridge
Dec 18, 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Summit - North Side
View Attachment Dec 17, 2018 Dec 17, 2018 SAC Banner Summit Copper Mountain
Dec 16, 2018 Dec 17, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Mushroom Ridge
Dec 15, 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Public Sawtooth Mountains Titus Ridge
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 15, 2018 Dec 15, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Beaver Creek
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 14, 2018 Dec 15, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Baker Creek
Dec 14, 2018 Dec 14, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains The "X", north of Meadow Bowl
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 13, 2018 Dec 14, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Copper Mountain
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 13, 2018 Dec 14, 2018 SAC other Glassing - Ketchum to Banner
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 13, 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena pass south side
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Peak
View Attachment Dec 12, 2018 Dec 12, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Pass
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Smiley Creek - Upper Vienna weather station
Dec 10, 2018 Dec 11, 2018 SAC Wood River Valley Warm Springs Ck - Baldy OB
View Attachment View Attachment Dec 9, 2018 Dec 10, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena Peak
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 7, 2018 - Dec 7, 2018 Dec 7, 2018 SAC Soldier Mountains Miller Ridge, N. Fork Soldier Creek
Dec 5, 2018 Dec 5, 2018 Public Banner Summit Copper
Dec 3, 2018 Dec 5, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Marshall
Dec 2, 2018 Dec 3, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Galena pass area
View Attachment Dec 2, 2018 Dec 2, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Humble Pie
View Attachment Dec 2, 2018 Dec 2, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridge
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Dec 1, 2018 Dec 1, 2018 Public Wood River Valley Big Basin
View Attachment Dec 1, 2018 Dec 1, 2018 Public other Back of cross
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Nov 30, 2018 Nov 30, 2018 Public Banner Summit Copper Proper
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Nov 29, 2018 Nov 30, 2018 SAC other 4th of July Creek
View Attachment View Attachment Nov 28, 2018 Nov 29, 2018 Public Mores Creek Pilot Peak
Nov 28, 2018 Nov 29, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains East shoulder Williams
Nov 28, 2018 Nov 29, 2018 Public Wood River Valley East fork of Big Wood
View Attachment Nov 26, 2018 Nov 27, 2018 Public Sawtooth Mountains Titus ridge
View Attachment View Attachment Nov 25, 2018 Nov 25, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains Beaver Creek
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Nov 24, 2018 Nov 25, 2018 Public Banner Summit Copper Mountain Area
View Attachment Nov 24, 2018 - Nov 24, 2018 Nov 25, 2018 Pro Smoky & Boulder Mountains Titus Ridgeline
View Attachment View Attachment Nov 24, 2018 Nov 24, 2018 SAC Sawtooth Mountains Road obs from Stanley and Redfish
View Attachment View Attachment Nov 24, 2018 Nov 24, 2018 Public Smoky & Boulder Mountains The Cross, West side
View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment View Attachment Nov 21, 2018 Nov 24, 2018 SAC Smoky & Boulder Mountains glassing Ketchum-Stanley

General Information

If you head into the backcountry, we’d love to hear what you’re seeing out there. To submit observations:
• Send us some info through our observations page
• Send us a text at 208-481-5921. Be sure to add this number to your contacts!
• Use the hashtag #sawtoothavy on Instagram or Twitter. Follow the #sawtoothavy hashtag to see what others are reporting.