A range of 4′ to 10′ of snow fell in past five days in the Sierra

Sierra Rec Magazine – Minden NV, January 29, 2021 – Well that was an interesting week. Early last week reports started to surface about a monsoon of moisture that was about to hit California and models were showing the Sierra mountain range could see its first serious snow even of the year with dangerous blizzard conditions.

Come Tuesday the storms had materialized and Blizzard warnings were set in place for all over the Sierra. Travel was not recommended. And here we are Friday afternoon and the sun is breaking through he clouds in the Carson Valley and as I scroll through the Instagram stories and facebook pages it is a wonderland of snow images that vary by community but are filled with joyful laughter that winter has arrived.

Mammoth region of the Sierra seems to be reporting the biggest impact with numbers nearing 10 feet of snow this week. And in the Tahoe region we are seeing 4-7 feet of snow with wild variations around the lake. With Kirkwood recording 88″ and Heavenly mountain only 51″. That is typical of many storms in the winter.

Of course with that much snow that quickly dropped on a thin layer of ice pack from the last storms Avalanche danger is everywhere. Reports from CalTrans yesterday that a snow plow was caught in an avalanche and pushed into the Walker River. The driver is recovering still in the hospital. Backcountry is not safely accessible as of Friday with extreme avalanche danger every elevation.

New and old weak layers in the snowpack combined with 4 to 5 ft of new snow and strong winds have created dangerous and complicated avalanche conditions. While natural avalanche activity may have peaked during the storm, large, deep, and destructive human-triggered avalanches will be likely today. The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE. Don’t let the excitement about the new snow override good judgment. More avalanche fatalities occur on CONSIDERABLE days than any other danger rating.

Snow may return again by Tuesday in the sierra before forecast say it will dry out for 8-10 days before more weather arrives for winter. Until then the snow play in the sierra should be epic.

Snowshoeing Near Kirkwood

Snowshoeing Yosemite National Park

Skiing / Snowboarding

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