Persistent slab avalanches are possible on steep slopes at mid and upper elevations on drifted slopes and even in more sheltered areas. A slab made up of stronger snow now sits precariously on widespread weak sugary snow formed during the prolonged December high pressure system. Backcountry observers continue to report red flagged signs of instability, like audible collapsing and cracking, indicating the persistent slab problem still exists.
- Pay attention to possible signs of instability like cracking and whumpfing or collapsing.
- Avalanches might be triggered remotely, from a distance, or worse, from below.
- Avoid drifted snow in steep terrain near ridges and in and around terrain features like gullies, saddles, rock bands, scoops, and sub-ridges.
- A ride in even a small avalanche could be particularly dangerous now due shallow snow and the potential for being dragged through rocks, trees, or deadfall below.
The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports 19°F and 43 inches of total snow containing 101% of normal SWE (Snow Water Equivalent). It's 15°F at the 9700' CSI Logan Peak weather station, and the wind calmed overnight, currently reading 4 mph from the west. The UDOT Hwy 89 Logan Summit weather station is also showing windspeeds in the single digits, and it's 4°F. The snow is gradually stabilizing, but it's still quite dangerous on many slopes in the backcountry. Be patient, give steep slopes more time to adjust to the Christmas load before you commit to them.
- Shallow early season snow conditions exist, and fresh powder is now hiding some big rocks. I've seen several badly damaged sleds in the past couple days. Travel cautiously and keep your speed down.
- 12/29/17, in the Wasatch Range four skiers were caught and carried by a persistent slab avalanche triggered by the fourth person to enter a slope. Luckily everyone was okay. Report
- On 12/26/17, a 20-year-old rider was rescued by his party after being caught, carried, mostly buried, and pinned against a tree in Boss Canyon near the Idaho State Line in the Franklin Basin Area. View the Report
- Riders remote triggered a good sized avalanche in the Rodeo Grounds on the east side of Logan Peak in 12/26/17. A few other remote triggered avalanches were reported in the Providence Canyon Area between Christmas and 12/27.
- 12/26/17, Four riders were caught and carried and partially buried in an avalanche on Whiskey Hill in the Monte Cristo Area in upper Ogden Canyon. View Report
- A couple very large avalanches were remote triggered in the Western Uintas, and a rider was completely buried and injured on 12/26/17 in the Chalk Creek Area. Report
Here's a view of the Boss Canyon avalanche crown on a very steep slope in the deep timber.
High pressure aloft will gradually strengthen across the region through the middle of the week. Today: Sunny, with a high near 29. Northwest wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the afternoon. Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 19. West southwest wind 5 to 9 mph. New Year's Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32. West wind 10 to 15 mph.
We're excited to introduce for the 2017/2018 winter the Utah Avalanche Center podcast, hosted by forecaster Drew Hardesty and produced by KUER's Benjamin Bombard. The podcast will include engaging stories, interviews, and lessons learned - all things avalanche to help keep people on top of the snow instead of buried beneath it - and easily found on ITunes, Stitcher, the UAC blog, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Discount lift tickets for Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, and Beaver Mountain are now available, donated by the resorts to benefit the Utah Avalanche Center. Details and order information here. All proceeds go towards paying for avalanche forecasting and education!
Now is a great time to practice companion rescue techniques with your backcountry partners. Here's our rescue practice video.
Go HERE for a list of UAC classes.
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Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you shop from Backcountry.com or REI: Click this link for Backcountry.com or this link to REI, shop, and they will donate a percent of your purchase price to the UAC. Both offer free shipping (with some conditions) so this costs you nothing!
Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell. You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.
Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche observations. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.
This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.