Not much to update in the Gunnison zone, as the weak storm system that passed by over the last 36 hours only dusted the forecast zone. I'll republish yesterday's discussion which describes our early season set up. This will help put incoming observations and weather changes into context over the near term.
The snow that fell in October and didn't melt off gradually transitioned into weak basal facets and crust-facet combinations. The saving grace is that the early season snow did melt off in most places, so this worrisome snowpack foundation isn't widespread. It is confined to above treeline slopes that face northwest to north to east. But, on these slopes you can easily trigger an avalanche. The storm event from last week provided the first test of the weak foundation, and it did not hold up well. Anywhere the new storm snow fell on a preexisting snowpack, we saw evidence of instability: avalanches, shooting cracks, and propagating snowpack tests.
The danger is MODERATE (Level 2) because the suspect slopes are not widespread, natural avalanches are unlikely, and due to lack of snow coverage, very large avalanches are also unlikely. But, the most suspect slopes are also the most attractive for recreating. We're going to be lured to slopes with deeper coverage. Despite all the rocks, shrubs, and bare ground poking through the thin snow coverage in most places, it is avalanche season up high.
Be cautious near, on, or below, any slope steeper than about 30 degrees that looks like rocks and shrubs are buried and no longer visible. This near miss in the adjacent Aspen zone is exactly the type of event we want to avoid. You can trigger avalanches from below or from a distance. Give yourself a wide buffer around potential avalanche terrain to account for this unpredictability. The Persistent Slab avalanche problem will be with us for a while.
On other slopes, you're biggest risk it hitting shallowly buried obstacles. It's still early, don't blow your whole season getting injured nailing something.