Forecast for the Moab Area Mountains

Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Thursday, November 10, 2022
Unstable slabs of wind drifted snow are your primary avalanche concern. Look for recent deposits of wind drifted snow on the leeward sides of ridge crests and terrain features, primarily on mid to upper elevation slopes with a northerly aspect. Wind drifts are recognizable by their smooth rounded appearance and cracking is a sign of instability. They may also sound hollow underneath.
It's still low tide out there and rocks, stumps, and deadfall are lurking just beneath the surface. A ride in even a small avalanche in these low snow conditions would be quite rough.
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Special Announcements
We've not yet begun issuing regular daily avalanche forecasts but will update this page as conditions warrant. Also follow us on Instagram @utavy_moab
Road Conditions: Grand County has not yet begun plowing the road to Geyser Pass Trailhead. Expect to find mixed dirt, ice, and snowpacked conditions. Good tires and all wheel drive are recommended.
Thanks to all who attended the 15th annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW), and a big shout out to all of the presenters!
Weather and Snow
In spite of the rain in town, Wednesday's storm was a bust in the mountains with only 4"-5" falling at Gold Basin. But at least we had the wind. Southerly winds cranked for days in the 35-45 mph range with gusts in the 50's and 60's. They finally backed off Wednesday night and swung around to the WNW. We'll remain under dry, cool, northwesterly flow through the extended period with a slight chance for snow on Sun-Mon.
Warm temperatures early in the week should have had a calming effect on the thin layer of sugary, faceted snow that Dave Garcia and I identified last week, and overall, the underlying snowpack is dense and supportable. But with the upcoming cold dry spell, I expect the snowpack to become loose and sugary, leading to poor snowpack structure with a weak base down the line. Strong southerly winds have stripped south aspects, while alternately drifting snow on to northerly facing slopes. Be on the lookout for unstable slabs of wind drifted snow in these areas. Wind slabs usually stabilize within a few days but remain cautious of areas that have a smooth, rounded appearance or that sound hollow underneath. Low snow conditions also continue to create a hazard with an average depth of around 18" at 10,000'. Tread lightly out there!
If you are getting up into the mountains please submit an observation and let us know what you are seeing!
Get the most recent observations here.
Get current and past 24-hour readings from these real-time weather links:
Snow and Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) at the Gold Basin SNOTEL site (10,000')
Snow and Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) near the Geyser Pass Winter Trailhead (9600')
Wind Speed and Direction on Pre-Laurel Peak (11,400')
NWS point forecast for the La Sal Mountains.
Additional Information
Even if you're not planning to get onto the snow, it's never too early to start thinking about avalanches. A few things to consider doing:
  • Sign up for an avalanche class.
  • Take the all-new online avalanche courses the UAC built for Know Before You Go or take other online courses listed on the KBYG website (Develop skills -> Online Learning).
  • Get your avalanche rescue gear ready for winter. Put fresh batteries in your transceiver and update the firmware. Inspect your shovel and probe. Get your airbag backpack ready by possibly doing a test deployment and update the firmware if it is an electric version.
This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.
General Announcements
Please submit your observations from the backcountry HERE.

This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.