Old business first. A photo of the Days Headwall avy
from yesterday (which got my attention in a big way):
We skied the Powder Purse (North and Northwest trees in east Willow Fork) first today. It was at least 14-16" deep in most spots with no instabilities. Then, we skinned through the center of Willow Fork to Monitor Peak to take a look at the Monitors. We noticed another small slide in the Powder Purse off the ridge separating Willow Fork from USA Bowl (Mill F). This slid earlier this year, and I'm pretty sure wind transport created a shallow, nasty snowpack here. I'm pretty sure it ran naturally:
North Monitor slid big today. I wasn't there when it went so this is all speculation, and I'm sure someone will report it to the UAC, but I'm pretty sure someone did a cornice drop (or maybe two) that brought the house down. This area all faces due east. There were two slabs that pulled out: one ran on the "west Desert" layer of dust; the other ran below
that layer. I never got close enough to even take a guess how deep it was. Some party of skiers hit it today without incident, most likely before it slid given where their tracks were. We both could have sworn we saw tracks in the bed of the slide, but it was really hard to tell with very flat light all day today. Anyway, we took a conservative line down that faced more north and with less angle, and I could really feel the instabilities in the snowpack as we skied the lower-angle terrain. I did a really solid ski cut on the one rollover on our run and was very pleased with the results (I'm pretty sure it was all a matter of angle and not "safer"). Several parties followed us down with no problems. The snow was fantastic. There was also quite a bit of wet snow slides adjacent to the slab(s) that pulled, as you can see below.
I'm pretty sure this slide was a result of the weather today. It was sunnier in the morning when the solar radiation was cooking that east-facing slope, but the sun went away pretty quickly and we had nice, overcast skies all day that kept the snow pretty nice. You could have probably skied a nice run on some south-facing stuff as late as 11am today. The skies stayed overcast all day until the new front moved in at about 3pm. Most of the snow survived today relatively unharmed.
We exited Will's Hill on some more over-the-head powder. No instabilities noted here at all, and the snow was still light density blower at 4pm. Some of the best snow I've had all year. More snow on the way...
I forgot that McDonalds Draw also slid out almost completely from a bomb from the Canyons ski resort. We were going to ski a small shot I think is called McD's that faces more north, but it had been wind-loaded in a really funky way, so we passed.