Record warmth around Thanksgiving melted a good deal of snow across the zone, and a solid refreeze last week turned the remaining snow rock hard. A couple brush-by storms deposited an inch or two of snow and this is now weak, faceted and in some areas capped with surface hoar of frost. Persistent slab avalanches could be fairly wide and might run fast and far on the slick underlying snow.
The snow surface at upper elevations Saturday was sparkling with widespread feathery surface hoar or frost crystals. Surface hoar often becomes a tricky persistent weak layer once buried. (Jensen, 12/2/17)
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The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports 16°F and 35" of total snow containing 118% of average SWE (Snow Water Equivalent). The site recorded 27" of new light snow Monday morning. It's 15°F at 9700' at the CSI Logan Peak weather station, with northwest wind currently blowing 9 mph, with gusts to 32 mph. We found very nice deep powder riding conditions near Tony Grove Lake yesterday.
Just beneath the fresh powder, shallow early season snow conditions exist, and hitting rocks or stumps is a significant hazard. Travel cautiously and keep your speed down. The Tony Grove Road is not maintained for wheeled travel in the winter.
With clearing yesterday we could see evidence of a fairly widespread natural avalanche cycle that occurred in the Central Bear River Range during the intense storm Sunday night (12/3/17), which deposited 27" at the Tony Grove Snotel. The storm slab avalanches on north through east facing slopes above 8200' ranged from 40' to 200' in width and were all about 2' deep. The avalanches failed on a layer of sugary faceted snow and/or feathery surface hoar above the stout Thanksgiving crust.
Strong high pressure centered to the west of Utah will maintain a stable northerly flow across the Great Basin through the end of the week.
Monday's light powder snow was easily drifted into stiffer wind slabs in exposed terrain. Dangerous wind slab avalanche conditions probably exist on some slopes. Despite fairly calm conditions at mid elevations yesterday, we could see drifting going on at upper elevations due to northwest winds. Avoid fresh drifts near ridges and in and around terrain features like gullies, rock bands and sub-ridges.
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This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.