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What a Thanksgiving Storm

When it was all said and done the Northern Wasatch ended up with 40-50" of snow at just over 4" of SWE. Thats a lot of snow! The load was a great test for the October snow that was lurking at the highest northerly aspects of the Ogden Mountains. Natural Avalanches were isolated and all were reported during the highest precipitation rates of Thanksgiving morning. The good news is that in the Ogden Mountains most of the old snow was preserved in the Snowbasin area on high North aspects. But that could create a problem as skiers step out into the Snowbasin Backcountry north of the resort boundary. Now the question is how reactive will the October layer become with another larger load, or even just the load of a rider. The Thanksgiving snow has now settled out and become quite consolidated. The photo below really shows how much settlement we have had over the past 5 days.

Since the Thanksgiving Storm observers have been vigilantly searching for the weak layer and testing reactivity of the layer. As you can see in these pits from similar aspects and elevations but differ-net zones in the forecast area we have very high spacial variability in our current snowpack. These observations have had varying test results also. From scary ECTs to No result. So the take home message here is if you are going to step out into High North terrain you could be stepping into a scary situation or you could be all good. Right now it is just hard to tell.

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