Forecaster Blogs

Blog: Week in Review (March 2 - Mar 8) - Mar 8, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Progression of danger roses for the Salt Lake mountains for 3/2 - 3/8. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Considerable Considerable HIGH Considerable Considerable Considerable Moderate Summary: Strong winds early in the weekend followed by an impressive storm beginning Saturday evening and lasting into early Monday morning. Snow totals varied widely, with Little Cottonwood Canyon receiving the highest totals.  Storm snow and water totals: Big Cottonwood Canyon 17-19" 1.20" Little Cottonwood...


Blog: UAC Podcast - A Conversation with Tom Kimbrough - Mar 1, 2018 - Hardesty
    In this podcast, we talk with retired UAC forecaster and Jenny Lake climbing ranger Tom Kimbrough. Tom has spent a lifetime in the mountains. When asked what has kept him alive all this time, his answer, without hesitation: "Luck."  We explore ideas about lifetime exposure to risk, what it's like now seeing his son Paul climbing and skiing at such a high level, and what role Buddhism has played in his life as a climber, as a skier, and as a soon-to-be octogenarian. We talk about what has changed over the years in snow science and the role of mentorship in the world of forecasting and...


Blog: Week in Review (Feb 23 - Mar 1) - Feb 27, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Progression of danger roses for the Salt Lake mountains for 2/23 - 3/1. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Moderate Moderate Considerable Considerable Considerable Moderate Moderate Summary: Storms Friday through early Sunday morning, followed by a wind event on Monday that left many exposed upper elevations slopes with hard wind slabs at the surface. Approximate snow/water totals for the week include...


Blog: Week in Review (Feb 16-22) - Feb 20, 2018 - Greg Gagne
Progression of danger roses for the Salt Lake mountains for 2/16 - 2/22. (Click on the day of the week for the archived forecast for that day.) Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Moderate Considerable Considerable HIGH Considerable Considerable Considerable Summary: One of the bigger storms of the season over Presidents Day holiday. Avalanches failing in storm snow, as well as into weaker faceted snow in thinner snowpack areas and repeater slopes. As of 5 am Friday February 23, approximate snow/water totals for the week include: Cottonwoods 26" 1.85" Park City...


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...


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