I got home and pulled the Bible off the shelf (aka Bruce Tremper Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain) and already found of a couple of great tidbits. Firstly he also states that wind grinds up the snowflakes, so they pack into a denser layer than snow falling in calm conditions. "Wind usually starts drifting snow at around 15 km/h, and most of the real action happens between about 25 to 80km/h. Wind faster than 80 km/h actually blows less snow around because, at least in dry conditions, it tends to blow the snow into big plumes that jet off the ridge tops, and most of the snow evaporates before it ever reaches the ground again. The snow that does make it back to the ground tends to be not only far, far away but also spread out more evenly instead of in discrete drifts. So just like slope steepness, it's the intermediate values that cause the problems" "More time [of strong winds] equals more transport - but once again, only up to a point. Most of the damage usually comes in the first couple of hours of the windstorm. Once all the light fluffy snow gets blown around, then the wind has to work harder to blow the rest of it" "Most avalanche fractures occur within a distinct weak layer sandwiched between two harder layers, but sometimes the fracture occurs simply because of a poor bond between two layers - in other words, a weak interface. For instance, a hard slab might slide directly on a hard rain crust with no distinct weak layer involved" - note this describes the avalanche that started this thead, and that it's a footnote compared to the time dedicated to many other weak layers like depth hoar and faceted snow - weak layers which we just don't get.