11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
Sunday, December 31, 2017

Slow, very slow…like watching paint dry on a humid day. The weak faceted layers in the snowpack were overloaded with the Christmas storms, and are still talking to us. Slides can still be triggered on this layer. And while the likelihood of triggering a slide is slowly decreasing, the expected size remains the same – one to two feet deep, around 100 to 200’ wide. The facets are most widespread on northwest through easterly facing slopes at the upper elevations, in the Provo area mountains and can be triggered from a distance or from below.

Nothing can hurry the process, so patience and your inclinometer are your friends - there are lots of free aps for your phone, or a wide variety of styles and prices for hand held inclinometers.


If you didn’t see it yesterday, here’s Trent’s video again of the recent skier triggered slide in Dry Fork – an incredibly clear explanation of the current northern Utah snowpack and avalanche problem.


Persistent Weak Layer
Current Conditions: 

It's 2018 - Happy New Year! And here's hoping for a "new" weather pattern, too. 

Under mostly clear skies, temperatures in the drainage bottoms and on the high peaks are in the teens, with readings in the mid to upper 20s at the mid elevations of the Provo area mountains. The westerly winds are very light in the Provo area mountains, less than 10 mph.  To the north, the highest peaks are averaging 15 to 15 mph, gusting in the 30s.  

Snow surface conditions are “variable” – a mix of sun and wind crusts, damp snow mid day, with soft, recrystallized powder on wind and sun sheltered slopes. Snow depths are still quite shallow – only about a foot deep on the shady, mid elevation slopes.

Recent Activity: 

No recent avalanche activity has been reported in the Provo area mountains, and avalanche activity has also slowed to the north – there have been two days in a row with no backcountry avalanches reported. However, there were still large collapses continued yesterday on the less traveled slopes in the Salt Lake and Ogden area mountains.   The avalanche list is here.  

With over a dozen people caught, carried and some buried in northern Utah since Christmas, it’s worth reviewing the weather and avalanche activity in Greg’s “Week in Review”.

  Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday     Moderate Considerable Considerable HIGH HIGH Considerable Considerable
Mountain Weather: 

The stubborn high pressure plaguing the western US will strengthen through the middle of the week. For today, temperatures will warm into the mid 30s at 9,500’. The southwesterly winds will increase, with 20 mph averages and gusts to 30 mph at the mid elevations, and 35 mph averages with gusts to 55 along the high ridgelines. Clear skies tonight, lows in the teens and twenties, and continued breezy winds. No storms in the future through at least Friday.

Bottom Line: 

The Avalanche Danger is CONSIDERABLE on steep, upper elevation slopes facing northerly through easterly, and MODERATE on the shady mid elevations slopes. Here, avalanches 1 to 2 feet deep and up to 200’ wide can be triggered, failing on sugary, faceted snow. Avalanches can still be triggered from a distance and from below.  Avoid travel on and below upper elevations slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.

As wind speeds pick up today, any sensitive drifts forming along the high ridgelines should be avoided.

General Announcements: 


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This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. 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.


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