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.

Ball Butte conditions

Observation Date/Time:
Wed, Mar 18, 2020 - 12:00 PM
Aaron Hartz
Broken Top Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions   No Avalanche Activity  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
Skiing on Ball Butte today I saw a variety of snow surfaces. At and adjacent to ridge tops on south, east and north aspects, the surface was a mix of crust or old windslabs. Windslabs were not reactive to ski cuts and were well bonded. Below ridge tops, I found preserved powder and/or wind affected snow on SE, E, and NE aspects.

No signs of unstable snow and no avalanche problems were observed today. At 1pm (@ 7800ft) I measured the air temperature to be -0.5C (31F). It wasn't quite warm enough for the loose wet problem to kick in today. The wind ranged from calm to light and shifted out of the SW, S, and E.

Overall, the ski quality was pretty good.


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