Snow kept falling yesterday around the Central Mountains, bringing snow totals to well over a foot in many areas. Winds will have plenty of fresh, low-density snow to load onto leeward slopes, stressing a snowpack that proves to be weak already. As the cold front passed, winds shifted to the northwest and built fresh slabs onto many slopes, including southeast- facing slopes. Although it may not stress the buried melt-freeze crusts and facet combinations that linger deeper in the snowpack on these sunnier aspects, these fresh wind-slabs are likely to be tender.
The continued snow made for some good riding yesterday but visibility was so poor that we have been unable to verify our forecasts with any real confidence. Although given the weak structure, slabs over persistent weak layers, and the continued reports of a collapsing snowpack and shooting cracks, most CAIC forecasters were confident that triggered avalanches remain likely today. The threat of natural avalanche’s is largely over, but not out of the question. As the skies clear and visibility improves, we will be able to assess how widespread the natural cycle was, if at all.
The threat of remotely triggered avalanches remains constant, with new reports coming in almost daily. Approach steep terrain with the assumption that you can trigger an avalanche without being on the slope, and you won’t be surprised when you do.