In the Central Mountains, you can still trigger a large avalanche on wind-loaded terrain features. Reports of avalanches have slowed to a trickle. Most of the avalanches in the last week released on above-treeline slopes that face northeast and east. There was one avalanche that released on a near treeline slope and one that released on a northwest aspect. This decrease in avalanche activity with no significant weather events is a sign that the avalanche danger is decreasing.
The source of avalanche danger remains the chance of triggering a Persistent Slab avalanche. The primary weak layer is old faceted snow that arrived in October. Snow and wind events in November built slabs and the combination is our problem today. The key to staying out of trouble is to identify and avoid these old drifts.
The avalanche danger is decreasing as the Likelihood of triggering one of these features decreases. With time it gets harder to trigger one of these avalanches and the number of places you can release one also drops. This is a slow process. It creates a patchwork of dangerous areas where you can travel over slopes with the troublesome characteristics without incident and then find a place to trigger a slide.
There is a stark gradient in snow depth as you move up in elevation. Below about 10,500 feet the snowpack is fairy thin or nonexistent. The snow depth increases fairly quickly above about 11,00 feet. The avalanche danger follows this pattern. In areas at a higher elevation and in the northern portions of the Aspen and Sawatch zones, you will find deeper snow cover and a greater chance of triggering a dangerous avalanche. Here the slabs are thicker and more widely distributed.
The recent spate of dry weather is changing the snowpack. The faceting process is weakening the snowpack overall. In shadier terrain, the surface is becoming cohesionless. If you find layers of weak granular snow that are at least a few inches thick at the snow surface. You can start a Loose Dry avalanche in very steep terrain. Consider the terrain below you. The sluff you or someone above you triggers might grow large enough to knock you off your feet.