With winter returning to the San Juans yesterday, a burst of new snow has freshened up the backcountry riding conditions. New powder in many mountain areas is a nice allure, however many sunny aspects (E, W, S, and low angle north slopes) have a tricky breakable crust below the fresh snow. At this time the best riding can be found on steeper north facing terrain, particularly in areas sheltered from the strong N winds of yesterday.
Barclay and I skied "Oh Boy" couloir on Carbon Peak yesterday, a 35 degree tree run on the north facing side of a small peak below Red Mtn. #3, and found excellent riding conditions in 4-8" of light snow.
For adventurous skiers exploring at and above treeline, watch out for new windslabs and wind drifts on lee southerly slopes. These areas may present the greatest hazard at this time due to significant accumulations and potentially poor bonding with the slick old snow surface. Additional avalanche danger information can be found at the Colorado Avalanche Information website.