As of March 30th, COAC has suspended backcountry avalanche advisories and pro observations until further notice.

On March 23rd, Governor Brown of Oregon issued Stay at Home orders for the public regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The directives are clear in that “to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or in their place of residence.” On March 27th the Deschutes National Forest issued a closure of all developed recreation sites including trailheads and snoparks. COAC is committed to supporting our community, local emergency services, and agency partners and because of this we felt it important to cease operations as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.   

This decision was not taken lightly. Aside from the need to maintain congruency with the Governors' orders, there are inherent risks with backcountry activities in alpine environments and it’s important to consider unnecessary exposure to COAC forecasters, first responders, and local medical staff in light of the current situation.

We look forward to getting back into the mountains and providing you all with the tools to recreate safely in the backcountry. Until then we thank you for your continued support and wish all our mountain community the best of health and wellness.

Tumalo Bowl

Observation Date/Time:
Tue, Feb 18, 2020 - 7:24 PM
Geoff Lodge
Three Sisters Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
Toured up Tumalo today to check out how the new snow got re-distributed after the last snow event. I wanted to check on this as the winds late on Sunday (2/16) kind of got up there in wind speed that it seemed like snow was going to be blown all over the place.

Just above the highway, snow was 240cm deep, air temps were -10c, and winds were calm. The forest to get up on top was holding all kinds of great cold powder. The surface of the snow in the trees had the classic 'shimmer' (surface facets/surface hoar; not a problem on the surface) that was brought on by the previous cold clear night.

Things started to change as I hit treelike. The new snow was shallow and you could detect signs of the previous wind event that came out of the west. Getting on top, I found the previous snow blown into the bowl. It was about 45cm in the deeper pockets. It also looked like the powder people had their way with it. The bowl was pretty torn up.

I also noted that a moderate wind on top was coming out of the NE. All this snow that was moved here the other day was now being pressed by the wind. Very little snow on the surface was available for transport. Lots of crust exposed along ridge lines and the summit.

Digging in I found the wind blown snow to be well bonded to a very hard rain crust down ~45cm that took some work to get through. Several other crusts could be found below. ~60cm down I found a thin band of weaker snow below a crust. This was 1 Finger hard with Pencil hard snow below and a Ice hard crust above. The only weakness I found was in the wind deposited snow and was a little too shallow to apply our classic snowpack tests to (CT and ECT). Its gaining strength as I had to give it some pull with hand shears.

The ride back down was pretty good once in the trees, if you could find the way through the old ice chunks under the newer snow.


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