Backcountry enthusiasts find themselves in a bit of a pickle on the eastside right now. Our snowpack is very thin, and many obstacles exist throughout the landscape in the form of barely covered rocks, exposed bushes, fallen trees, and sporadic coverage. Compounding the hazardous travel conditions is our persistent slab avalanche problem. It is important to remember that the areas with the best coverage (gully features, deposition zones, and shaded northerly and easterly terrain) are also the areas where persistent slab avalanches are most likely to occur. This catch -22 has the potential to encourage us all to fall victim to our own poor judgment as we try and seek out soft turns. The promise of fresh snow and pleasant weather will be tempting as we move into the weekend, but it is important that we all temper our expectations, move with caution and evaluate snow and terrain carefully. There is a long season ahead and now is not a time to ski or ride with abandon in the backcountry.