Observation: Park City Ridgeline

Observation Date
01/28/2018
Observer Name
Paradis

Region:

Location Name or Route
Park City Ridgeline
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Yesterday started clear and cold but today was a different story. Sort of gray and warm. A little breeze from the west but not too bad.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
4"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Yesterdays colder snow had become damp by today.  Some rime on trees but not enough to matter for skiing.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
All the red flags are still there, even if they now they maybe seem to be a couple days in the past. Point Peak slide was on an aspect common to many slopes along the Park City Ridgeline and happened ~3 days after snowfall and peak avalanche activity. The Meadows avalanche was just 2 days ago. See below re: wind loading and poor snowpack structure below.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Weak snow is easy to find along the Park City Ridgeline.  All it takes es stepping out of your skis and you sink in quite far.  In addition to basal facets, there are also weaknesses around the rain crust below say 9000 feet and buried near surface facets above.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Problem #2 Comments

I was surprised at how firm and stubborn some of the wind slabs felt along the ridgeline.  This can lead to a false sense of stability because the snowpack "feels" strong and may not crack easily like more sensitive wind slabs might.

Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
8400
Slope Angle
0
Comments

Extended column tests provided an audible sudden collapse but not an obvious rapid planar shear. 

Another view of the Pointy Peak avalanche

This slope had been extensively tested by small animals.  The bobcat (maybe? larger tracks in foreground) seemed to have a better sense of the avalanche danger and stuck to the ridge.  

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