Forecaster Blogs

Blog: Those Who Cannot Remember the Past... - Dec 20, 2017 - Hardesty
The Alta Guard station in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon has snow records from November through April since the 1944/1945 winter. The numbers can be found here.  Average annual snowfall is 497". Since 1944/1945, the Alta Guard has recorded 11 winters when the total snowfall from November and December did not crest the 100" mark.  1976/1977 easily stands out as the leanest early winter with a grand total of 30.5".  It's not lost on the Utah powder hounds that three of those sub-par early seasons have occurred since the winter of 2009/2010...


Blog: Avalanche Fatalities During Uphill Travel - Dec 16, 2017 - E Lees, C Raspollini, L George
  Background Years when the US averages 25 to 30 avalanche fatalities in a season, the particulars of each accident blur.  However, in the winter of 2016-2017, when there were 12 avalanche fatalities, some interesting details stood out.  One was the percentage of solo recreationists getting killed; the other was the relative number of people who were going uphill at the time of their accidents. The risk of backcountry incidents and fatalities while descending is well known, and is often a main focus of avalanche training and education. However, the risk while proceeding...


Blog: Practicing Companion Rescue - Dec 10, 2017 - Toby Weed
We need to practice Companion Rescue techniques often, and with all our backcountry partners.  With a persistent high pressure and shallow snow in the Utah mountains, now is a good time to do this.  You can practice anywhere. All you need is your gear, a partner or two, and enough snow to bury a pack.  For more information and to learn directly from the experts, go to our our Classes and Workshops page for listing of our Companion Rescue Fundamentals classes.....HERE


Blog: Adjusting to a Different Snowpack Climate - Nov 5, 2017 - Guest Blogger Tyler Falk
[This blog entry is provided by pro UAC observer Tyler Falk. Tyler presented this work at the Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop on November 4, and it is also scheduled for publication in the December issue of "Avalanche Review" which is published by the American Avalanche Association.] Adjusting to a Different Snowpack Climate The 2016/2017 winter season in the Salt Lake area mountains will be remembered by many to have felt overall warmer and wetter than normal. Some might even call it coastal, based on our weather and avalanche activity. I recently looked at all the available data on...
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Blog: Week in Review (April 8-14) - Apr 14, 2017 - Greg Gagne
Week in Review [April 8 - 14] A storm system entered the region this past weekend, with warm temperatures and a high rain/snow line on Saturday April 8th. A cold front with an ample moisture supply late Saturday night and well into the day on Sunday provided nearly 18-24" in the Cottonwoods and Ogden mountains, with 8-15" along the Park City ridgeline. The Provo mountains recorded 3-6". Limited avalanche activity was reported with this storm, with a few slides breaking at a graupel interface of the old snow surface, or within a density inversion within the storm snow: [Mark...


Blog: Week in Review (Mar 31 - Apr 7) - Apr 7, 2017 - Greg Gagne
On Thursday March 30 the central Wasatch received about 6" of storm snow. On Friday March 31, sun and greenhousing crusted all aspects and elevations, with the exception being northerly aspects above 10,500'. A round of significant wet activity occurred by mid-afternoon Friday:   Saturday brought a clear and warm day, and another round of loose, wet activity followed as the northeast winds began to relax.     On Sunday, a weak storm system deposited 1-4" at the upper elevations which improved riding conditions. Monday through Thursday was highlighted...


Blog: Week in Review (Mar 24-31) - Mar 31, 2017 - Greg Gagne
This past week has been highlighted by the see-sawing of storm and bluebird days, with avalanche activity ranging from storm and wind slabs during stormy periods, to predictable wet activity on sunny days. A weak storm on Saturday delivered 4-6" by late in the day in the central Wasatch. Sunday started cool & clear, but the strong March sun brought the usual round of shallow wet loose activity by mid-day. Monday was a classic March storm, with snow totals ranging from 6-13" during the day. A particular highlight was Alta recording 7" of snow from noon - 1 pm. Jim...


Blog: Week in Review (March 17-24) - Mar 24, 2017 - Gagne
The prolonged ridge of high pressure (aka the "Dylan Ridge") continued through the weekend of March 18/19 with breezy conditions ahead of a week system that produced a few mountain rain showers and a trace of graupel on Monday. Skies cleared somewhat later Tuesday, and Wednesday brought a warm, moist storm system that deposited up to 5" of dense graupel, with 20% density. The rain/snow line was above 9500' During this past week, many mountain locations maintained above freezing temperatures for well over a week. On Thursday a moist storm system arrived, bringing the first...


Blog: The Little Things (that might keep you alive) Part 4 - Mar 22, 2017 - Tom Diegel, Guest Blogger
“It’s long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle While the last week or two has felt an awful lot like spring, there is no doubt that we’ll be getting additional storms before the sun comes out in earnest.  Typically the snowpack gets more stable in the spring, but we’ll hopefully get enough snow that avalanche danger will again rear its head, and we’ll need to respond accordingly.  Along those lines, here is the last of The Little Things that might help to keep you safe in...


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