Observation: Moab

Observation Date
01/10/2018
Observer Name
Reed Kennard

Region:

Location Name or Route
laurel highway
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Weather Comments
Well, it looks like winter has finally decided to make an apperance in the La Sal mountains. Snow began to accumulate on the ground at around 7,000 feet with the bulk of the accumulation starting around 8,500. Winds were light to non existent below tree line, however the Laurel weather station was showing light to moderate ridge top winds before it stopped recording at 10:00 a.m. Visibility during my ski resembled the inside of a pingpong ball at times.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
5"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

The snow that fell during the first part of the storm system was more dense than the last several storms that have come through the area.  The snow was moderately dense with a variety of flakes that fell during my ski.  I noticed large stellar flakes, small needles and a very brief period of graupel and ice pellets.  At least for the beginning part of the storm wind did not seam to play a factor below tree line.  Currently we do not have much of a snow pack in the La Sal Mountains, but while I was skinning up the Laurel highway I was able to collapse at least half a dozen pockets in the first 2 meadow that have a more northerly aspect.  These meadow appear to have held snow from our previous storms, with close to 12" in places.  As I was skinning up through the meadows I repeatedly felt collapsing as I went.  Several of these collapses had a domino effect and I could hear them reverberate out from my position. This is not a big deal right now, because we still do not have enough snow to access the backcountry, aside from some low angle meadow skipping, but as more storms roll through the area opening up our terrain we should all keep in mind that the snow pack is setting up to be our usual upside down La Sal layer cake with a nice sugary layer of facets on the bottom waiting to collapse under the weight of additional storm slabs, wind loads or powder starved skiers.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
It looks like our snowpack is shaping up to be our usual La Sal layer. Read the comments under snow characteristics for more details.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Once we have enough snow to ski in the backcountry persistent slabs will be our main concern.

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