Observation: White Pine

Observation Date
12/6/2018
Observer Name
Andrew McLean
Region
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
White Pine - LCC
Red Flags
Red Flags
Collapsing
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
The 30cm layer of basal facets is still there on upper northish facing slopes and is not going anywhere soon.  Eventually it will break down or be overwhelmed by new snow weight (or warm conditions...) but in the meantime it is still a factor.
Comments
The powder party is over.  With warming temps, a thin cloud cover and some mild but persistent wind, the surface snow has stiffened up and it is no longer a case of good skiing all around.  In the upper 70cm of snow, it has gone from fist and 4 finger penetration to single finger pen - the snow is definitely setting up. Today, the best skiing was on upper elevation, sheltered, north facing slopes, which is where the buried basal facets are.  We experienced two mild collapses and ski cut many steeper slopes with no results like in the past 3-4 days.  The upper layer of the snowpack is gaining strength, but the base weakness remains. I think it will be increasingly hard to trigger avalanches, but if they do occur, they will be large.  
 
 
Snow pit details:
9,554', north facing, 33 degree slope
ECT = 30.  No noticeably weak layers in the upper 70cm of snow
Compression test = 16.  This is up from a result of 11 on a similar elevation/aspect two days earlier.  This suggests a slowly strengthening snowpack. 
 
I think the major concern is that as people start to look for better surface snow, they will be pushed into higher and steeper north facing terrain, which is where the lingering danger persists.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate

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