Observation: Park City Ridgeline

Observation Date
2/9/2019
Observer Name
Paradis
Region
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
Park City Ridgeline
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Sunny first thing, then progressively more overcast, then snow by mid-day. Winds from the SW were transporting snow.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
Snow was quite wind affected and dense, even in relatively protected places.  The snow was also somewhat variable from turn to turn as you skied from one slightly more protected area to a less protected one.  Wind slabs and cornices were very dense and hard.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Strong winds were the most obvious red flag today not only because they were actively buffeting you but the snow was so wind affected. At times the wind was strong enough to create a ground blizzard and limit visibility. It obviously also snowed a lot this week, which warrants patience. Finding weakness in the snow structure required some digging.
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Many slopes along the Park City Ridgeline heading back into the Canyons were being windloaded today.  Cornices were also growing large.  I didn't observe and cracking of these wind slabs or cornices, however.  They seemed to be very dense which maybe made it more difficult to crack under my weight.  That said, I'm sure if you found the right spot, it could go very big. 
 
This avalanche problem will be more tricky tomorrow with some new snow covering and loading the windslabs.
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
I dug quickly on a west facing slope at 9100 feet (photo below) and found the thin gray line of buried near surface facets.  I di  There was also a bit of a shear within the new snow but I couldn't exactly identify the culprit.  
 
Earlier in the week, I looked a some buried facets below 8500 that were rounding a bit probably due to the warm temperatures before this last storm cycle.
Large cornice growing over Powder Park
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable

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