The snowpack is generally stable and avalanches are unlikely. The greatest hazard is hitting rocks or stumps.
This dry weather is a great opportunity to practice using your rescue gear or take a rescue class. Consider driving up to Brighton next Friday night at Brighton where we're offering a companion rescue class. Click HERE for more details or go HERE to find other classes.
After a trace of snow last night in a few places, the most recent weather events that affected our fledgling snowpack were:
- Rain up to 10,000 feet on Nov 21st and record warm temperatures over the Thanksgiving holiday
- A "storm" that delivered 1 inch of snow on Nov 27th
- Clear, cold nights this week
The good news - Many slopes on the southern half of the compass and at lower elevations remain snow free. When snowfall finally comes, these slopes may have a more stable snowpack because they won't harbor old, weak snow near the ground.
The bad news - Because the snowpack is only 1-2 feet on upper elevation, northerly aspects, it is strongly affected by weather and will change a lot in the coming week. Unfortunately this time of year, it usually changes for the worse and becomes more weak and faceted. What about recent warm weather, didn't that help? Warm temperatures created wet layers of snow that are now refrozen. These crusts have simply made the snowpack more complicated with alternating layers of crusts and weak, faceted crystals.
There has been no reported avalanche activity since Saturday Nov 18.
Today and Saturday will be dry and mostly sunny. A cold front will bring snow and cold temperatures on Sunday, and we may even see some snow in the valley. This storm could bring 6 inches of snow or even a little more. Sunday and Monday nights should see mountain temperatures drop into the single digits F. By Tuesday, dry conditions return and a ridge of high pressure will be overhead for the rest of the week.
The odds of triggering a persistent slab avalanche remain low because the snowpack has not been stressed by the weight of new snow.
Looking ahead - Once we get more snow, this avalanche problem will be a serious hazard on upper elevation, northely aspects. The mostly likely layer on which avalanches will break after Sunday's storm will be the thin layer of small facets on top of a crust near the snow surface. However, winds from the SW on Sunday should drift snow onto NE aspects. With enough wind loading on NE facing slopes, avalanches may also break at the ground.
Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.
To get help in an emergency (to request a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911. Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.
Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.
If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.
- Salt Lake and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort/PCMR Dispatch (435-615-1911)
- Ogden - Snowbasin Resort Dispatch (801-620-1017), Powder Mountain Dispatch (801-745-3772 x 123)
- Provo - Sundance Dispatch (801-223-4150)
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DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.
TWITTER Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS
UDOT canyon closures: LINK TO UDOT, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral
Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.
To those skinning uphill at resorts: it is critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel. You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here.
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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.