This advisory will be updated intermittently with a general conditions report until snow coverage is sufficient for winter travel.
Grand County will be plowing this morning. They will close the gate during operations, likely between 9 and 11. If you make it up before the plow expect deep, rutted snow with up to 10" at the parking lot.
Grooming: Matt will be grooming today.
High pressure will again build over the region leaving us under sunny skies for the next several days. High temps today at 10,000' will be in the mid 20's, and northwesterly winds will average 10-15 mph along ridgetops.
The overall thin coverage, and lack of accessibility to avalanche terrain negate an overall danger rating at this time. Yesterday however, the underlying snowpack was already demonstrating it's inability to support a new load. Reed Kennard reported several collapses in his travels, and in my snowmobile foray up to Geyser Pass, I was able to observe cracking in any steep bank that I rode the machine on to. What this means is that we have a developing persistent slab problem where older, weak, sugary, faceted snow near the ground is providing an unstable base for future snow loads. Most of this weak, faceted snow can be found on northerly facing slopes between about 9500' and 11,500'. The extreme upper elevations were mostly blown clean prior to this last storm. For now, the potential for triggering an avalanche is very isolated however, travelers wandering into steep sided gullies, or mountaineers venturing in to more radical terrain, could trigger a shallow avalanche down to the rocks. This condition will only worsen with the next snow load.
Steep banks along the road would easily crack under the weight of a passing snow machine. I dug out the small section with my hand.
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This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. 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.