Persistent slab avalanches are notoriously unpredictable and are aptly named. Poor structure exists above about 8000' on the shady aspects and may be triggered by heavy loads or by finding a thinner snowpack area. An avalanche triggered in the backcountry north of Snowbasin in Hells Canyon before this weekend's storm was a good warning that with the additional load of snow more like that can occur. Low angle terrain rides well without the hazard.
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Skies are mostly clear with a few high pink streamers moving overhead. Mountain temps are in the upper teens to low twenties. Winds are light from the west. Snow depths range from 40-50" on the Ogden skyline and 50-60" in the Powder Mountain and Monte Cristo areas. Comparisons of this year (green) with last year (red) and "average" (blue/purple) for the Ben Lomond and Monte Cristo areas. Sunny aspects will have a melt freeze crust while sheltered slopes ski and ride well.
Excellent reports from the past three days below -
Explosive work with avalanche reduction resulted in a couple very large avalanches in the Powder Mountain area yesterday. These were 2-5' deep - some stepping to the ground - on steep NE and ESE facing slopes above 9000' near James Peak. (PC PM snow safety).
We'll have high clouds today that should thicken and lower by the afternoon. Greenhousing is possible. Mountain temperatures along the ridglines will rise to the upper 20s as mid-elevation temps will rise to the upper 30s to low 40s. Winds will be light from the west. A weak system pushes through Friday/Sat. The next storm looks to be a week out.
The temperatures and just enough wind kept the sunny aspects in check yesterday. A melt-freeze crust will exist this morning on these aspects and this will slow down the wet activity, but not thwart it by any means. So...early direct sun, temps warming to the 40s at the mid-elevation, and perhaps some later afternoon greenhousing will activate the wet avalache activity. Natural and human triggered wet avalanches will be likely and may subsequently trigger still-stabilizing storm slabs on the way downslope. I expect there may be decent debris piles beneath the steepest, most sustained avalanche slopes. Don't overstay your welcome - the window will be quite narrow between breakable crust and wet/unstable. Choose the cold snow instead.
KEY POINT: ROOF-A-LANCHES will be a significant concern. Watch for many houses to shed their winter coats with the sun and daytime heating. Fatalities have occurred due to this very real hazard.
Aside from the two primary problems listed above. Some storm slab and wind slab avalanches remain possible. These are becoming less likely but the possibility remains. Photo below shows an example of a small storm slab avalanche triggered yesterday at the head of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Also, watch out for large cornices that have grown even larger with recent snowfall. These monsters may break closer to the ridge than you'd expect.
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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.