This week has brought ample new snow with storm totals ranging from 8-24” since Sunday the 22nd. Also, the combination of colder than average temperatures and relatively light winds have helped to persevere the loose, low density, surface conditions throughout the range. While this has led to favorable ski conditions, it will be essential to remember that a variety of avalanche problems are present at all elevations and on all aspects today. Furthermore, the distribution of new snow is vastly different from the southern reaches of the range to the northern end. Do your own localized assessments, and don’t let the promise of soft snow and favorable weather today lure you into making bad decisions.
Shifting winds and new snow may hide the typical surface clues, but it will be imperative to remember that dangerous wind slabs exist on all aspects. It is also important to keep in mind that the significant loose surface snow poses its own hazards. Storm instabilities are on a healing trend. However, loose sloughing is continuing to pose a hazard, particularly in the northern reaches of the zone where storm totals are significantly higher.
Low coverage is also a real concern today, particularly at lower elevations. In many areas, new snow has hidden otherwise obvious obstacles. Slow down and be cautious of lightly buried rocks, trees, and other sharks.