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Date: 
Friday, February 9, 2018
Size: 
2
Description: 

Although unlikely, persistent slab avalanches remain possible in isolated terrain.  This problem exists on steep slopes facing north through northeast, especially those that are rocky, wind-loaded, or have a thinner snowpack. Although the last reported backcountry avalanche occurred on Jan 31, we continue to receive reports of poor snowpack structure (stronger slab over weaker facets) in isolated areas, particularly outside of the upper Cottonwoods.

The snowpack won't likely give you the usual clues of collapsing or whoomphing, so you will have to pull out your shovel and dig down to look for the poor structure. If you do choose to ride in terrain where this poor structure may be present, be sure to select slopes with clean runouts where you won't end up going into trees or over rocky cliff bands. 

Drew provides a nice video description of how to choose terrain to avoid this persistent slab problem where good riding conditions remain.

Type: 
Persistent Weak Layer
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Current Conditions: 

Skies are partly-cloudy and mountain temperatures are in the upper 20's F. Winds are out of the west/northwest.

- At ~9500' winds are averaging in the teens with gusts into the 20's mph;

- at ~10,500' averages are in the 20's, with gusts into the 30's mph;

- and at 11,000' winds are averaging in the 30's, gusting into the 40's mph.

Surface conditions include sun crusts on southeast through west aspects, as well as pockets of wind-affected snow. However, despite the warmth and wind from the past few days, the dense snow from Monday and Tuesday has held up quite well, and there is plenty of fair - to dare I say good - riding conditions on mid and upper elevation slopes with a northerly aspect.

Hot off the presses! Our Week in Review for February 2-8:

Recent Activity: 

Only minor, wet-loose activity on solar aspects was reported from Thursday.

 

Mountain Weather: 

Partly cloudy and continued mild, with mountain temperatures rising  well into the 30's F. Winds will be out of the west/northwest, averaging in the teens with gusts into the 20's mph below 10,000'. Winds will average in the 20's with gusts into the 30's above 10,000', exceeding 40 mph above 11,000'.

A cold front will sag into the region overnight, bringing hopefully a few inches of snow and cooler temperatures for Saturday. We also may pick up a few inches again on Monday.

Bottom Line: 

The avalanche hazard is Low. However avalanches stepping into deeper faceted layers remain possible in isolated terrain with a poor snowpack structure. Most experienced people continue to avoid the bulls-eye avalanche terrain - steep slopes facing north through northeast at the mid and upper elevations.

Small pockets of fresh drifts may be found along upper elevation ridgelines, and small, wet-loose sluffs may be possible on steeper slopes as the snow warms from daytime heating.

 

 

Type: 
Normal Caution
Size: 
1
Description: 

Two additional avalanche problems to watch for today:

Wind Slabs:  

Fresh drifts may be found from the west/northwest winds. Although I am not expecting these drifts to be widespread, there may be pockets along upper elevation ridgelines, especially those with an easterly component.

Loose Wet Sluffs

The winds should help keep the snow surface cool, however wet loose sluffs may be triggered on steep, sunny slopes as the snow heats up.  

Likelihood: 
1
Likelihood: 
1
General Announcements: 

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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 occur.

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