There have been no reports or observations of new avalanche activity since this past Thursday when small loose snow avalanches and associated shallow soft storm slab D1 avalanches were reported in steep N-NE facing terrain from Wednesdays (1/09) 4-8” storm. More interestingly and THANKS to many public observers out there, is the presence of PERSISTENT SLAB conditions and associated whumping and collapsing of the snowpack in the forecast area. (See Observations from 1/12 June Lake Area & 1/12 Bishop Bowl Area). In general, the interface between our floating slab (35-60cm thick from 1/5-6 storm) and older faceted snow (30-40cm) is around 50 to 60cm below the surface and in many cases there is a dramatic difference in hardness with the newer slab being between 1F-4F and the faceted layer below residing in very loose (F) conditions. These conditions are spatially variable throughout the forecast zone, and seem to be more prevalent at and below tree line where old snow remained sheltered and was allowed to facet and decompose during our relatively cold December temperatures. Although the faceted (F) layer is also present in the alpine it has been observed to be rounding, more compressed, and there have not been any reports of collapsing or avalanches to date. Likely increased wind effects and deeper relative snowpack has contributed to a less sensitive faceted layer in the alpine regions. WIND SLAB in the region is generally our number one issue and in more extreme and steep terrain as always, backcountry travelers should be on the lookout for pillows or fat looking snow surfaces. The advent of yesterdays and last night’s prevailing Easterly winds will redistribute wind slabs onto more westerly and southerly aspects than has been seen the past few days.