Observation: Norieaga's Shoulder

Observation Date
Observer Name
Moab » Norieaga's Shoulder
Location Name or Route
Trans La Sal
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
S1 snowfall this morning stopped around 12:30 PM. The skies cleared, visibility was great, and it was a stunning day in the mountains.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
Another 13 inches and it came in right side up. This latest round laid down about 9 inches of medium density snow, then temperatures dropped and the snow that fell at the end of the storm was low density, leaving true Utah cold smoke on the surface. Skiing is five star right now.
Deep trail breaking today.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Did not observe active wind loading today. Previous wind loading from the storm was observed on Northerly aspects above treeline.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
When the skies cleared, it was obvious a good bit of wind loading had occurred during the storm. Northerly aspects were looking fat and pillowy, especially in Upper Dory Canyon above the Pencil Chute and Exxon's. We did not observe any active transport of snow today. I still suspect skiers and riders will be able to trigger a wind slab in the alpine tomorrow, but overall this problem is trending down.
I'll include "New Snow" problems here with wind drifted. The new snow was not slabbed up where we traveled today. We did not encounter any sluffing, but we kept our slope angles low for the most part. I dropped a small cornice on a steep North face above Brumley Creek with no results. On our way out, we skied a short and steep (maybe 40 degrees) North facing shot to see if we would get any sluffing. The snow did not move. This may have been a function of elevation, this slope was around 9,400 ft. We did notice some natural sluffs in the steep slopes of Talking Mt. Cirque around 11,400 ft. By tomorrow, any instabilities in the new snow should be stabilized.
Zoom in on this photo and you can make out the sluffs in Talking Mountain Cirque.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Decreasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
From the top of Noriega Peak we were able to get eyes on some of the alpine terrain around Gold Basin. We did not see any recent avalanches breaking down to the PWL. The series of storms this week put a good load on the snowpack, and the lack of avalanche activity is a great sign that the buried PWL is continuing to gain strength and becoming harder to trigger.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating