Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Uintas Area Mountains Issued by Craig Gordon for Saturday - October 14, 2017 - 11:59am
special announcement

THANK YOU to everyone who attended the 24th Annual Utah Avalanche Center Fundraising Party hosted by Black Diamond with beverages provided by Uinta Brewing. It was great fun and our best one yet with record setting money raised. We couldn't operate the Utah Avalanche Center without support from a long list of organizations and individuals.

We have several events approaching quickly:

Saturday, October 21 at 6 p.m.

The annual Boondockers Premiere has a new, family friendly home.... The Depot in Salt Lake City. So, yes.... we are excited to announce the Boondockers 14 Premiere at a new, larger venue this year. As part of the move, there will only be one showing and all ages are now welcome. In addition, three food trucks will be onsite providing "for purchase" sliders, pizza, and tacos.

10th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop

Snowbird, Saturday November 4th

New for 2017!

A breakout session designed specifically for sledders by sledders, to address the unique needs and considerations of motorized users in the backcountry. This will help set the stage for future snowmobile and snowbike workshops. You’ll learn from avalanche experts and fellow riders, and brush up your skills before the start of the season. The morning sled specific breakout session (from 8:00-9:40) is free due to the generous support from the Utah Snowmobile Association! Sign up here

But wait… there’s more! We encourage everyone to stay for the rest of the day. From 10 am to 5 pm we'll have a series of presentations to help all backcountry users better understand avalanches and how to stay safe. Sign up here

Regional avalanche workshops are the most time and cost effective way to build and refresh advanced avalanche skills available. We encourage pre-registration at $36, which closes on Thursday, November 2nd at noon. After that, you can get tickets for $45 at the door. Lunch, coffee/beverage service, and post workshop happy hour is included.

This is a high-level continuing education opportunity meant to give the avalanche community access to the latest and greatest information. This is the only avalanche workshop in Utah addressing snow science, decision-making, the changing backcountry, and lessons learned from recent accidents.

You’ll learn from and network with forecasters, patrollers, snow scientists, highway avalanche crews, search & rescue personnel, mountain guides, ski industry manufacturers, backcountry skiers & snowboarders, snowmobilers, avalanche researchers, and more. The format will be 15 minute presentations followed by Q&A. There will be sponsor booths with the latest gear and gear give-aways.


07:30-08:00 Registration

08:00-09:40- Sled breakout session- Wasatch Room

08:00-08:05 Welcome

08:05-08:20 The changing face of backcountry riding- Randy Sugihara

08:25-08:45 Snowbike Avalanche Considerations- What’s different about outreach, education, and forecasting for snowbike specific zones- Brett Kobernik

08:50-09:10 The Evolution of Avy Education for Snowmobilers- How the tragic death of a highly skilled rider helped shape the direction of avalanche education for sledders in Utah- Kim Reid and Craig Gordon

09:15-09:35 Highmarking, Bookdocking, Hill Climbing should we dig snowpits? It's vital to know what's happening in the snow under your track. Understand the avalanche problems to know when digging a snowpit may save your life- Mark Staples

Open registration- 09:15-10:00

General session open to public- 10:00-17:00-Cliff Ballroom

10:00-10:05 Welcome

(Changing climate… changing snowpack)

10:05-10:20 Utah Winter Review 2016-17: A video narrative recounting the 2016-17 winter.

10:25-10:45 Birthday chutes close call. A survivor’s first hand account of events that led to a large human triggered slide and happy ending- Sam (or Mark Staples)

10:50-11:10 Adjusting to a different snowpack in the Salt Lake Mountains- How a warm, wet winter created a coastal snowpack in many regions while Alta’s snowpack retained intermountain characteristics-Ty Falk

11:15-11:35 Managing larger starting zones with a phat snowpack- A historic look at how terrain and starting zones change their dimensions as the snow gets deep and the challenges that presents to resort forecasters and backcountry users- Chris Bremmer- Snowbird

11:40-12:00 Teton Pass Valentines Slide Cycle- Brian Gorsage

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-17:00 Afternoon session

13:00-13:05 Welcome to the Afternoon Session-

(Recreate like a professional)

13:05-13:25 Do backcountry travelers really need checklists?- This talk addresses the complex nature of decision-making, a variety of factors to track, and thoughts on how to build systems for beginners and experienced travelers alike- Sarah Carpenter AAI

13:30-13:50 Looking at snow patterns like a pro- Understanding spatial variability- Dr. Ben Reuter, IFMGA Mountain Guide, Research Scientist at Montana State University

13:55-14:15 Thinking about the snow like a pro- Instability and stabilization after storms- Dr. Karl Birkeland, Director, Forest Service National Avalanche Center

14:20-14:40 Being Human: Going Deeper, Finding the Goods and Building Our Own Mountain Ethic- Using the “human factor” to keep us alive in avalanche terrain. Nancy Bockino- Teton County Search and Rescue, Exum Mountain Guides, AIARE Trainer, AAA Pro Trainer, and Winter Ops Manager for Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute

14:45-15:05 “Where’s Your Partner?”- A look at current trends and an alarming number of “solo” avalanche deaths in recent years- Evelyn Lees

15:05-15:20 Break

Afternoon session continued-

(Decision making… for the past, present and future)

15:25-15:45 Fast Times and Big Lines- The changing face of the Lasals- Eric Trenbeth

15:50-16:10 The Dogma of the Forecast- Why we can get surprised when the forecast matches reality- Jimmy Tart

16:15-16:35 The White Heat Project- The aim of the White Heat project is to generate new knowledge on mechanisms behind risk-taking behavior in avalanche terrain- Jordy Hendrix.

16:40-17:00 Advice to my younger self- A personal reflection on the role mentors played over my 48 years as an avalanche professional- Liam Fitzgerald

17:00-18:00 Social

current conditions

Fall is here finally and the high peaks across the range received their first coat of white paint in late September. Ted took some pictures from Bald Mountain Pass for reference. Of course, we're stoked seeing early season snow, but most of us hope it melts away. It's not because we wanna be in the office plugging away at computer projects.... it's because early season snow always becomes weak and faceted, and it can produce avalanches months later that break at the ground. (Scroggin images)