Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Mark Staples for Monday - November 23, 2015 - 6:24am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is LOW today for triggering a slide.

We will update this forecast Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the timing of the approaching storm and increased winds ahead of the storm.

special announcement

Most ski areas are closed to uphill traffic as they open or prepare to open. Check in at each resort for their current early season uphill policy.

UDOT will be sighting in their howitzer in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Monday, November 23, 2015 and backcountry closures will be in place. Click HERE for more info.

current conditions

The snowpack remains thin, and the greatest hazard is hitting stumps or rocks. A dense layer of graupel that fell on Friday helped the skiing a little bit. A rime crust can be found under this graupel layer. This graupel layer and rime crust helped the snowpack become a little more supportable. There's definitely not enough snow to head out with a sled, but there are rumors of deeper snow and decent riding in Central Utah near I-70.

Current snow depths are roughly:

  • Ogden area mountains – 9 to 15” up high, only a few inches down low
  • Park City and Salt Lake area mountains – 12 to 20” above about 9,000’
  • Provo area mountains – 5 to 13” (7,500’ - 8800’ elevation)

Photo showing the graupel layer on top of a rime crust. (T. Meisneheimer photo)

Winds stripped away the graupel in places and exposed the rime crust - shiny areas (Mark White photo)

recent activity

No new avalanche activity was reported yesterday.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 24 hours

Most slopes have about 4 inches of weak faceted snow at the ground. These facets are not a problem on most slopes because there is not enough of a slab on top of them. On southerly aspects these facets either melted or gained strength. High elevation, northerly aspects, where a wind slab rests on these facets, are spots where you could trigger an avalanche. However, these places are isolated, and these slabs seem to be much more stubborn to triggering than they were a few days ago.


Warm and dry conditions should continue through Monday and Tuesday. Winds should shift to the SW and slowly start increasing mid-day Monday. Cold air and snow should arrive Wednesday.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory 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 launch 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.

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

Snowbasin Resort Dispatch (801-620-1017), Powder Mountain Dispatch (801-745-3772 x 123).

Sundance Dispatch (801-223-4150)

EMAIL ADVISORY  If you would like to get the daily advisory by email you will need to subscribe here.​ 

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.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides Blog/Itinerary for the Day.  

Lost or Found something in the backcountry? - http://nolofo.com/

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is your responsibility to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here. IMPORTANT: Before skinning or hiking at a resort under new snow conditions, check in with Ski Patrol.  Resorts can restrict or cut off access if incompatible with control and grooming operations.

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.

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 exist.