Location Name or Route
It was a clear cold and beautiful day up in the La Sals. Temps were in the upper teens and low twenties with some pretty consistent winds out of the south and plenty of snow blowing over peaks and saddles and loading the leeward side.
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
The cold temps that came in with the last storm are doing a fantastic job at keeping the snow surface soft and creamy. We skied some southwest facing trees out of laurel meadow to start our day and had great powder top to bottom. Tomorrow their may be some sun crust on more southerly aspects, but I think the cold temps combined the sun still low in the sky might give us another day or two of soft snow on southerly sides. Snow in sheltered and shady trees provided great powder turns later in the day.
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The wind loading in the La Sals was evident all day long. Winds were a steady 20 to 30 mph out of the south with obvious snow transport loading up north faces throughout the basin. Although our snow pack is getting deeper and gaining strength it received a hefty load earlier in the week, and all of that snow is sitting on a week layer from the early December. Week layers can still be felt with a basic ski pole probe. Something that surprised me today was the number of layers in the snow pack on the sunnier side of the compass. While poking at the snow I could feel plenty crust layers sandwiching weaker snow with a weaker layer sitting at the bottom. Although the sun is getting higher in the sky every day it appears that their may still be some layers in their to keep an eye on. I did not feel any collapsing or cracking today, but for the most part our party stuck to the heavily traveled areas. I would not have been surprised to feel or see either of these in less traveled areas.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Problem #1 Comments
Lots of wind transport out their today. I'm sure their are plenty of wind loaded slopes to be leery of.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Problem #2 Comments
All that snow that was blowing around landed on a north facing snowpack with facets at mid snow pack and ground level. You don't want to be the straw that breaks the camels back.
Their is some great snow out their right now but I think it is still best to keep slope angles low and let the snow back adjust to the new load. I would rate today as a considerable danger day and tomorrow as a considerable danger day as well at upper elevations and north facing slopes that have been wind loaded and are still hanging onto some week layers.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating