A large amount of new snow has fallen on an underlying thin and weak snowpack. While some of the avalanche problems we face today are fairly standard, let yesterday’s huge avalanche on Mammoth Mountain be a reminder that our current snowpack structure is not standard. Use caution, increase your margin of safety, and be a bit more conservative than you may be used to being until confidence in our snowpack can grow.
As the sun comes out in ernest today, some thought goes to the possibility of warming southerly facing slopes and possible instability associated with that. The cold temperatures will keep these concerns much less than if forecasted temperatures were to be much higher. Still, keep an eye out for signs of potential instability due to slope warming on E-SE-SW facing slopes such as roller balls originating near rock bands.