Avalanche danger was high (L4) in the Front Range Zone. Snowfall during the storm was 18 to 24″ inches or more, with the settled snowpack depth increasing by well over a foot. The night prior, 12.22.14, winds were very strong from the north and west, with gusts to 90 miles an hour. The limited observations indicated a very touchy snowpack. Evidence of wind transport from Dream Lake and higher was evident. Due to the high danger we stayed off the Dream Chutes, Lake Haiyaha approach, and the apron. Still a winter wonderland day, and the snow is filling in nicely.
Just above treeline, wind slabs were forming in specific places along leeward boulders, tree wells, convex terrain freatures, etc. Chalky and hard snow, with wind scalloping on the surface was evident — especially at and above Emerald Lake.
Complicating this snowpack is extensive and locally variable wind drifting obviously setting the stage for the trigger of wind slab avalanches. Evidence of wind-loading really comes in to the picture at the Dragontail Apron looking above in to the Chaos Canyon. This would be something to keep in mind as the season progresses — those layers are now part of the wedding cake snowpack.