People continue to trigger avalanches in the Northern Mountains. Yesterday a skier triggered an avalanche breaking up to 2 feet deep in the East Vail area, specifically Marvin's. The is steep east-facing terrain near and below treeline. Combine this fresh evidence with other obvious signs of instability like collapsing and shooting cracks and we get a clear picture of the problem we've been discussing for weeks: the threat of triggering a large and destructive avalanche breaking on weak layers buried by mid to late November snowfall.
The storm snow over this past weekend added a modest load to these persistent weak layers. Strong westerly winds over the next couple days, combined with small amounts of new snow through Thursday will continue this pattern of incremental loading, most pronounced on east-facing terrain. It's easy to discount the impacts of seemingly innocuous amount of new and drifting snow, but even small amounts of incremental loading are notorious for keep persistent weak layers alive and active.
Yo'll be able to trigger small soft slabs around a foot or two deep in wind-loaded terrain. This problem will persist as long as snow continues to drift.
The more serious concern is that a small avalanche may have enough mass to trigger the more deeply buried weak layers. These avalanches are now breaking 4 to 5 feet deep and entraining some serious mass. Even without a small avalanche in the surface snow, you can trigger one of these Persistent Slab avalanches all by yourself if you find the wrong spot. These are localized shallow spots in the snowpack, like along slab margins, and in rocky areas. avoid these and reduce your risk.
This remote skier-triggered slide near Vail Pass occurred on west-facing terrain. So obviously not all west-facing terrain is safe, it's just that your much less likely to find the problem in this generally less wind-loaded aspect.
Bottom line: East-facing terrain is most dangerous. Stiffer, thicker, and more continuous slabs overlying more widespread weak layers. But don't let your guard down on other aspects. If the slope looks wind-loaded, or you can see the snowcover spanning enough terrain that a large slab is possible, check and see if there are buried weak layers under a stiffer slab before venturing into steeper terrain.