Strong NW winds actively drifted snow below treeline. These strong wind helped keep shaded aspects dry and cold. We had a few sun breaks during the late morning hours.
We went out searching for weak surface snow (surface hoar and near-surface facets) before heading into a stormy pattern. Fortunately, I did not find much for surface hoar or other weak grains at the surface. This area mainly consisted of old wind-drifted snow or moist snow below 4500 ft. The HS on this side of road is significantly shallower. Above 5000 ft I measured depths of 150-175 cm.
I did locate a sneaky layer of buried surface hoar 17 inches below the snow surface. This layer did the show the ability to propagate in ECT's (ECTP 25) @ 5100 NW aspect. I found this layer in 2/3 profiles above 5000 ft on these NW aspects. This layer seems isolated in distribution, but worth considering if you find yourself traveling in the Pocket Creek or Bennet Pass areas.