Please remember that these observations indicate what was going on in the snowpack at a single point in time and space. They may not represent conditions where you are or where you plan to be. They also come from a variety of sources. SAC cannot vouch for the quality or accuracy of any observations that come from the general public. Some of these may be professional quality observations; some may not. Please use observations listed on this page as part of your information gathering process, but as always don't make decisions based on a single piece of information.

If you are looking for more information on how to understand the information on this page, all of the pit data graphs and stability tests are part of what is presented in a Level II avalanche class that follows the American Avalanche Association (AAA) or American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) curriculum guidelines. All of the coding and abbreviations for data presented follows the publication Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG) which is the standard for all professional avalanche programs in the US. An electronic copy is available here. Most of what you are looking for is in Chapter 2 and Appendix F part 1. We use a program called SnowPilot to create the snowpit graphs. It is available as an online tool or as a downloadable program at This website also has a quick video and user guide on how to use create snowpits. Please send us your observations using the buttons below.

Date and time of observation or avalanche occurrence Location Region Observation Type Photos Snowpack, Avalanche, Weather Videos Snowpit videos (tests, etc) Observation made by
01/13/2017 - 12:30 Donner Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Wind slab avalanche skier triggered on test slope.  W aspect, 7500', 35 degree slope.40' long shooting cracks in wind loaded terrain.Small wind loaded test slopes showing slab failure.  W aspect.Settlement cones around trees. Forecaster
02/25/2018 - 11:00 East Ridge Relay Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Near surface facets buried under recent storm snow at pit location.  N aspect, 9600', NTL terrain. Wind textured snow surface at 9600', N aspect, just off ridgeline. E aspect wind effected snow at 9600'. Forecaster
01/11/2017 - 12:00 Mt. Rose Highway Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation
Relay Peak.  East Face, 10,200'.
Fireplug.  E/SE. 9200'.
Rose Knob/3rd Creek. S aspect. 9400'.
Incline Lake Peak.  SE aspect, 9200'.
Mt. Houghton.  S/SE aspect, 10,000'.
Mt. Houghton.  SE aspect, 8800'.
11/29/2017 - 12:45 Rubicon Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation 4mm surface hoar noted in below treeline openings.One of several hand pits indicating good bonding of recent storm snow to the rain cust below. Forecaster
02/08/2016 - 11:15 Mt. Lola Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
03/08/2016 - 12:00 Jakes Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
01/03/2018 - 13:10 Contact Pass Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Minor cracking around my skis on a N_NE aspect at 9200 ft. Looking up at the coverage on N-NE aspects between 8800 and 10000 ft. while standing at 8600 ft. Coverage on E aspects between 8600 and 9600 ft. Forecaster
04/07/2016 - 11:00 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
12/10/2016 - 10:18 Mt. Rose Chutes - CLOSED AREA Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation
Starting zone on the upper avalanche path after the afternoon avalanche release. This is a mix of the morning and afternoon crowns. Note how the crown steps down into different layers.
Closeup of the crown.
Overview of the upper starting zone
Smaller avalanche from the afternoon in an adjacent path.
Close up of the small crown in the lower adjacent path
Looking down the slope to the debris pile.
Looking up from the debris. Photo by Andrew Pinkham
The confluence of debris where the skier was found. The person is standing next to the burial location.
Standing in the hole where the skier was buried. He was buried prone in the area at my feet.
03/30/2018 - 11:30 Chickadee Ridge Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Skier triggered pinwheels on a SE aspect at 8500 ft. at 11:20 am. Boot top deep wet snow on a SE aspect at 8500 ft. at 11:20 am. 4 to 6 inch deep ski penetration into wet snow on S aspect at 8800 ft. at noon. Forecaster
12/29/2016 - 11:00 Polaris Point Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Snowpack Observation Buried surface hoar layer above the 12/15 NCF's.Close up of the buried surface hoar. Forecaster
01/20/2016 - 13:30 Rubicon West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
12/04/2017 - 11:30 Rubicon Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Surface Hoar was observed on the snow surface at all elevations.Skier triggered cracking on a NE facing wind-loaded test slope at 8800 ft.Skier triggered cracking on a NE facing wind-loaded test slope at 8800 ft. that was previously undercut.Snow coverage at 7400 ft.Snow coverage at 8300 ft. Forecaster
03/13/2016 - 12:30 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
04/14/2016 - 10:45 Andesite Ridge Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster


Subscribe to Central Sierra Nevada / Lake Tahoe Snowpack, Weather, and Avalanche Observations for California and Nevada from SAC