We are sorry to report that a skier was buried and killed in a large avalanche around 5 pm Friday by Electric Lake, on the Manti/Skyline Plateau. Our sincere condolences go out to the victim's family and friends. Here is the accident report.
Grand County has not plowed since the most recent storm Thursday night. 4"-6" of rutted and drifted snow exists on the road. 4wd required.
We will be offering a Backcountry 101 avalanche course on Feb 8, 9. It's a great way to up your avalanche knowledge with both classroom, and hands on field instruction. Click here for more details and to register. Much thanks to Moab Gear Trader
for sponsoring this course! Please visit them for all of your winter backcountry needs.
A fast moving storm system will sweep through the region today and into early Tuesday morning. Snow totals for our area don't look particularly impressive, up to around 6", but the real story is the wind. SW winds began ramping up yesterday afternoon blowing in the 25-30 mph range with gusts to 50. Around midnight they swung around to the SE where they have continued to blow in the same range. Strong southerly winds will continue throughout the day with developing periods of snow showers. It looks to me like 2"-4" are possible by late afternoon. High temps today will be in the low 20's. Windy and snowy conditions will continue into tonight with snow tapering off after midnight. Another 2"-4" are possible. Temps will plummet into the single digits overnight, and winds will shift to the NW creating bone chilling conditions, with mostly sunny skies on Tues.
I'm afraid the excellent conditions of the past few days have taken a turn. Winds are hammering the snow surface, and stiff drifts, slabs, and crusts will be forming in all exposed locations. Best bet for soft snow will be found in very sheltered, mid and lower elevations.
Charlie Ramser sent in this observation
from yesterday, with his danger forecast for today. I'd say he's dead on.
Base depth in Gold Basin: 50"
It's been an active week for avalanche natural avalanche activity and numerous slides have been reported throughout the range. I'm working on a compiling a list, but a trip into Gold Basin revealed a widespread cycle with avalanches breaking 3' deep on W-N-E aspects. Talking Mountain Cirque was particularly affected. A wind drifted slope broke out up to 7' deep, and the floor of the entire basin was covered in debris. And an infrequently running slide path ran full track, depositing debris into a stand of mature trees.