... depth hoar forms when we get some early season snow and then it doesn't snow for a while. It happens on a thin snowpack where a temperature gradient forms in the snow between the warm ground and cold air temp. A thicker snowpack weakens the temperature gradient, therefore creating unfavorable conditions for the formation of depth hoar.
... what's wrong with October snow as long it keeps snowing? If we get a consistent snowfall throughout this month and next without periods of drought, wouldn't we avoid the depth hoar problem? And, how often does it need to snow to avoid formation of depth hoar? For instance, in Colorado lately, the higher elevations have been getting snow at least once a week. I think that's pretty good, snow wise. Most others, think it's bad news.
sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it but for clarity and for other readers you might note that drought doesn't necessarily create a steep temp grade but if you're in CO it will tend to be quite cold thru periods of high pressure during the winter. That's your problem, CO is exposed to a continental climate which will be reliably cold and dry thru the winter. If you are so lucky to have an exceptional wet / deep season, keep in mind that wind distribution will create areas of shallow snow regardless of the average coverage.
Do you guys consider early season depth hoar to be any more dangerous than any other persistent hazard such as a rain crust, a buried weak layer or even mid winter depth hoar? Just curious.
more dangerous? ... i'm not sure if you mean hazardous?
if you're talking hazard, consider that depth hoar from early season, for the reasons noted above, tends to be widespread and deep which contribute to it being unpredictable and consequential, and hard to manage exposure to it.
Faceting later in winter tends to be more localized to shallow spots, rain crusts tend to occur at lower elevations, surface hoar tends to grow most in specific locations, sun crusts on solar aspects.... often you can work around / limit exposure to those hazards.
If you really do mean 'dangerous', and given that continental snowpacks are historically more dangerous for skiing (fatalities per user numbers) and deep slab on depth hoar is a big part of that stat, then yah its probs the most dangerous beast.