Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Issued by Drew Hardesty for Friday, January 11, 2019 - 7:24am
A MODERATE danger exists for triggering an avalanche that breaks 1-3' deep at the mid and upper elevation west through southeast facing terrain. A pockety Moderate danger exists on other steep slopes. Wet loose activity may be expected by late afternoon on steep southerly aspects.

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As of 4am, skies are mostly cloudy with light winds from the north. Mountain temps are in the mid 20s. A building and amplifying ridge of high pressure moves in from the west and we should start to see some clearing as the day wears on. Winds will continuing veering to the east and should remain light. A weak storm undercuts the ridge tomorrow but should only produce clouds for our La Sals and Abajos forecaster Eric Trenbeath and his mountain ranges to the south. The models are hinting at a more promising storm for mid-week.
Skiing and riding conditions are fair with pretty darn good coverage across the range, even at the lower elevations. Total snow depths are a settled 50-60" in the higher elevations. Many trailheads and lower elevation exits have snow depths from 35-45" (elevations roughly 6000'-7500').
Recent Avalanches
No new avalanche activity was reported from the backcountry yesterday.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
The last two days of southerly winds and subsequent wind drifts are scattered across the steep terrain at the mid and upper elevations. Time and warm temps have helped a trend toward stability, but still give them a wide berth and allow them another day to become completely welded in. You'll find these drifts more prominently located in steep upper elevation west to north to east facing terrain.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
The mountain snowpack harbors more than a few structural irregularities and interfaces that involve old faceted October snow in the basement as well as pre-Christmas and post-New Year's buried weak layers. Time, warm temps, and settlement has helped the snowpack to adjust and slowly stabilize over the past few days, but I still need some more data points to feel completely confident. I would still advise approaching steep wind drifted areas - particularly thinner snowpack areas - with caution.
General Announcements
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.

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