11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
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Observation Date: 
1/7/2018
Observer Name: 
Paradis / Brackelsberg / Caplis
Location Name or Route: 
Guardsman Pass
Weather
Sky: 
Clear
Wind Direction: 
West
Wind Speed: 
Calm
Weather Comments: 
Chilly to start the day but warmed quickly. The Heber Valley was under a cloud layer.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth: 
3"
New Snow Density: 
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments: 

The new snow at least helped make things look better even if it wasn't enough to provide the needed cover.  South aspects still had minimal snow and were nearly bare.  Where there was snow, some of sunnier aspects developed a crust that now had a dusting of new snow over it.

North aspects held good cold snow, however ample tracks in this area limited the amount of good quality snow available.

We noticed that the new snow had already started the faceting process even though it just stopped snowing yesterday.  This could get destroyed in the warm pre-frontal environment prior to the next system this week but I'm not sure.

 

Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend: 
Same
Problem #1 Comments: 

This area had snow from November.  I dug a pit on an easterly aspect in this area during mid-December and found a weak crust-facet sandwich.  The crusts and facets between them in the old snow have not changed substantially in the last three weeks.    

On more northerly, shady aspects the crust was not present and the lower half of the snowpack was entirely facets, which is also concerning.

Snow Profile
Aspect: 
East
Elevation: 
9700
Slope Angle: 
29
Comments: 

The photo below shows the weak crust - facet combo from mid-December.  I was curious to see if this had decomposed or faceted away.  It had not.  My notes from the time indicated that the weakest snow was near the top of the old snow, about 40 cms above the ground.  This is the same layer that produced results today.

 

Today's Observed Danger Rating: 
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating: 
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates: 
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