DEC is advising backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and all outdoor adventurers who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks to be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions.
Avalanche danger increases during and immediately after major snowfalls and during thaws. Recent warm weather brought significant melting and settling of snow before a winter storm Wednesday night into Thursday brought several inches of fresh snow to the High Peaks region, with new accumulations close to a foot in some places. Snow may be deeper on leeward slopes or areas of snow deposits, such as gullies. As snow accumulates over time it develops distinct layers formed by rain and melt/freeze cycles. When new snow falls onto previous snowpack, it adds weight and downward pressure. Lower snow layers may be reactive to the added stresses of recent snows, creating conditions conducive to avalanches.