Observation: Mill D North

Observation Date
Observer Name
Salt Lake » Big Cottonwood Canyon » Mill D North
Location Name or Route
Lees Fork - Reynolds Zone
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Overall, scattered skies, with periods of sun poking through, as well as periods of broken light precipitation. Temperatures remained generally cold through the afternoon, even during the brief periods of sun. The wind was generally light, picking up during any periods of precipitation but showing no obvious signs of transport along ridgelines.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
A surprising amount of new snow on almost any aspect in the Mill D Zone, with between 12-16 inches of new medium-density snow. It seemed to have gained a bit of body since yesterday and rode really well. Didn't hit bottom in too many places, generally supportable. It stayed generally cold throughout the day, but in the late afternoon, I would guess that the slopes were starting to absorb some heat.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Red Flags Comments
The primary concern was simply the amount of recent snowfall and the potential for increased winds. While there is a lot of snow available for transport, we did not observe any being actively transported or any signs of wind-drifted snow. The new snow appeared to bond really well to the old snow surface.
Overall, it was a great day of riding. I was surprised by the impressive coverage and riding conditions. Almost every aspect held between 12-18" of new snow atop varying depth supportable crust. On southerly aspects, the crust was at least 2-4" deep, while westerly and easterly facing aspects had a supportable crust closer to 1-2", depending on elevation. The northerly facing aspects we traveled did not have a supportable crust beneath the new snow, except for previous bed surfaces or cornice falls.
The primary concern of the day would be shallow soft slabs along ridgelines and sluffing in the steepest terrain. However, we did not observe any instabilities or signs of them during our travel. While breaking trail, we also experienced no cracking or collapsing, indicating overall stable conditions where we traveled. Moving forward, I anticipate that the new dry snow will quickly heat up when the sun comes out, and there is a lot of soft snow available for transport, potentially leading to wind slabs overloading what are currently stable conditions.
Cornices remain a concern as well; they were obvious along most ridgelines and overhanging.
New snow sitting atop a supportable crust on a west-southwesterly aspect.
Corniced ridgeline
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating