There have been a number of avalanche fatalities in the US this autumn including Jamie Pierre. The Utah Avalanche Center went to the JP slide where they noted “The fatal avalanche had the same snowpack structure as that of all the collapsing and other avalanche activity over the week of Nov 6 through Nov 11.”
Seems like the snowpack was fairly classic early season stuff. Early October snow melted off all but shaded slopes where a melt/freeze crust formed, the cold then formed facets below this crust. More snow fell mid-October on top of the crust and this also transformed into facets. This was followed by further snow on 1 November which also transformed into facets. These events combined to form the weak layer which caused the avalanche activity in the area. This week layer was covered by 30cm of low density snow on the 5th. On the 6th a skier triggered an avalanche in Collins Gulch with a number of subsequent incidents.
A storm cycle over 12/13th Nov brought 2 falls of 20cm each with wind loading with an avalanche risk of 3 (Considerable) trending to 4.
Snowpack at Little Cottonwood Canyon
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche_collins_gulch_1162011 - 6 November Incident
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/obs_snow_profile_snowbird_cirque_11102011 - Snow Profile showing layers