Forecaster Blogs

Blog: UAC Podcast - To Hell in a Heartbeat - A Conversation With Tom Diegel and Matt Clevenger About the 12.26.08 Full Burial on Little Water - Feb 15, 2018 - Hardesty
  In this podcast, we discuss the full burial and save of Matt Clevenger on the day after Christmas, 2008, and the event re-enactment almost 10 years later that Clevenger and ski partner Tom Diegel participated in to create a four-minute education film, "To Hell in a Heartbeat." The short film has been viewed online nearly 3 million times and is widely considered to be one of the most impactful short avalanche videos to date. The full accident report can be found here.   One of the interesting pieces of the conversation explores why, after such a traumatic experience, Matt agreed to be fully...


Blog: Where Are We Going? - Feb 14, 2018
Introduction On the morning of January 29th, Alta Ski Area embarked on a helicopter-based avalanche stability testing mission.  As a part of these missions an aerial sweep is conducted to clear the area of any people.  During this sweep three people were spotted skinning up the East Castle within the Alta Ski Area boundary.  Helicopter operations were halted until the area was cleared of people. Backcountry users touring within the ski area boundary has become more frequent in recent years.  We are often forced to halt operations due to the presence of tourers in the areas in which avalanche...


Blog: Week in Review (Feb 9 - 15) - Feb 13, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Progression of danger roses for the Salt Lake mountains for 2/9 - 2/15. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Low Low Moderate Moderate Low Moderate Moderate Summary: Felt like a real winter with three storms in a week! Snow totals for the past week in the Cottonwoods include 30" of snow with 1.75" water. For many, the best riding conditions of the season. The persistent slab problem...


Blog: Week in Review (Feb 2 - Feb 8) - Feb 8, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Progression of danger roses for the Salt lake mountains for 2/2 - 2/8. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Low Summary: Warm weather helped strengthen the snowpack, and the persistent slab problem enters a period of dormancy. No avalanches were reported from this past week. Friday Feb 2 - Quiet with a trace of new snow. Saturday/Sunday Feb 3/4 -...


Blog: Stacking the Deck (A Hindsight 20/40 story) - Feb 3, 2018 - Hardesty
So there are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness.  One is an atheist, the other, shall we say, a God-fearing man, and they're arguing about the existence of God, with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer.  And the atheist says, "Look, man, it's not like I don't have actual reasons for not believing in God. It's not like I haven't ever experimented with the whole God-and-prayer thing.  Just last month - you remember that awful blizzard - I couldn't see a thing, I was totally lost...


Blog: Week in Review (Jan 26 - Feb 1) - Feb 1, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Week in Review for Friday Jan 26 through Thursday Feb 1 Progression of danger roses and overall hazard rating for the Salt Lake Mountains from 1/26 - 2/1. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Considerable Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Friday January 26 - A very close call in the Meadow Chutes. Remotely-triggered persistent slab avalanche with one person getting caught, carried, and incurring injuries. Trent has his usual excellent video recap of this accident: Saturday...


Blog: UAC Podcast - Recreating Like a Pro - A Conversation with IFMGA guide Anna Keeling - Feb 1, 2018 - Hardesty
  In this podcast, we interview international mountain guide Anna Keeling.  Anna has been a fully certified IFMGA guide since 2002 and is accomplished in all of the disciplines: rock, ice, alpine, and ski mountaineering.  At this point in her career she is highly sought out to train and educate aspiring guides.  Anna has guided around the world, but calls New Zealand (where she was born and spends half the year) and Salt Lake City home.  A talented writer in her own right, Anna blogs about her adventures and other musings on her blog here. You can find her guiding operation in New Zealand ...


Blog: Thoughts from Papa - Jan 28, 2018 - Hardesty
Guide and pro observer John Mletschnig's observation from Cardiff Fork came in last night and it piqued my interest.  It wasn't so much an observation of the snow and avalanche conditions, but an observation of what people are doing with the snow and avalanche conditions.  This is well inside the ballpark of the "What-So What" operational model.  We gather information and then use this information to make our own decisions.  And each decision has its own consequence. Sometimes the consequence is powder, sometimes it's something else....


Blog: Week in Review (Jan 19 - Jan 25) - Jan 23, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Week in Review for Friday Jan 19 through Thursday Jan 25 Progression of danger roses and overall hazard rating for the Salt Lake Mountains from 1/19 - 1/25. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Moderate Moderate Considerable Moderate Moderate Moderate Considerable Summary - A storm system early in the weekend delivered cool temperatures, light winds, and 1-2' of legendary Wasatch fluff. Weekend storm totals included (snow/water): Little Cottonwood -  20"/1.08" Big Cottonwood -  16"/0.85" Park...


Blog: The Scorpion and the Frog - Jan 20, 2018 - Hardesty
A piece of fiction: I was touring up in Mineral Fork of Big Cottonwood yesterday.  Never liked it in there - spooky, full of ghosts.  Always feel claustrophobic.  Know the parable of the scorpion and the frog? The persistent slab and I talked for a bit on the uptrack.  I found ECTX and XPST-60/90.  "It's ok, come on into my terrain," she said.   "But I don't trust you, I don't like it."  Indeed the powder looked good in Moonlight.    "No, really, " she beckoned - "it's ok, come on in." I hesitated.  Then dropped in.  And the slope shattered like a windowpane.  "But I thought you said...." "...


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