Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Nikki Champion
Issued by Nikki Champion for
Sunday, February 4, 2024
The avalanche danger is MODERATE at the the mid and upper elevations, where soft slabs of new snow or wind-drifted snow may be sensitive. Watch for signs of cracking as an indication of instability.
There is also a possibility of triggering a large and dangerous avalanche, particularly on steep mid and upper-elevation slopes facing west through north and southeast, due to a buried persistent weak layer. If one of these avalanches is triggered, it will break 3-6 feet deep and well over a hundred feet wide.
There is a LOW danger at low elevations.
Expect the avalanche danger to rise in the coming days with snow and wind forecasted through much of next week.
Low
Moderate
Considerable
High
Extreme
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Special Announcements
Announcement: There is a NEW beacon training park in Park City near the Park City Day School. We encourage you to check it out and practice your avalanche rescue skills. More info HERE.
Weather and Snow
This morning, the skies are overcast with light snow tapering off in the mountains, and temperatures range from the single digits to low teens °F. Winds have shifted more westerly and are primarily light, with a few overnight gusts near 50 mph. Snowfall persisted overnight, adding 1-2 inches as of 5 AM.
Today, weak high pressure will move into the area. Any lingering snowfall should stop before skies become partly cloudy. Temperatures will reach the upper 20s to low 30s °F. Winds from the southwest will persist, remaining moderate with gusts reaching into the upper 30s mph at the higher elevations.
The upcoming slow-moving storm will impact the region from Sunday evening. A mild southerly to southwesterly flow will persist from Monday into Tuesday, bringing the heaviest precipitation. Expect 25-35 inches of snowfall and 2.00-2.50 inches of water accumulation. Colder air arrives on Wednesday with the upper trough passage.
Recent Avalanches
Yesterday, in both the backcountry and ski resorts, there were reports of sensitive shallow soft slabs of both new snow and wind-drifted snow.
To the north, in Salt Lake, three large avalanches failing in the PWL over the past week should stay in your mind:
Sunday - Skier-triggered avalanche in Davis Gulch on Gobblers Knob
Monday - Natural avalanche in Mineral Fork
Tuesday - Skier-triggered avalanche in Days Fork - Explore this recent podcast episode where the skier shares his experience from Days Fork, providing valuable and personal insights.
These avalanches were all 3-6' deep, well over a hundred feet wide, and running up to 2,000'. The two skier-triggered avalanches were close calls, and luck is not a good strategy when dealing with a PWL.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
Southerly winds will begin to ramp up this afternoon. With strong winds and fresh snow ready for transport, you're likely to encounter sensitive slabs of wind-drifted snow on all upper-elevation slopes and mid-elevation terrain features that allow for drifting snow accumulation. These slabs will be most noticeable on leeward-facing slopes, but keep in mind that high winds can load any aspect due to swirling and changing wind directions as they navigate the mountains; this phenomenon is known as cross-loading.
Watch out for signs of wind-drifted snow, like pillow-shaped deposits, and steer clear of those slopes. The most favorable riding conditions will be in sheltered, lower-angle terrain out of the wind.
Outside of the wind zone, the dense new snow will still be reactive. Yesterday, widespread graupel was reported, along with a few small graupel slabs. Instabilities could occur at the interface with the old snow surface or within storm- or wind-blown snow itself. Any avalanches may travel fast and far, particularly on southerly aspects where the new snow fell on a slick surface.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
Three avalanches failing in the persistent weak layer (PWL) over the past week indicate that this avalanche problem remains a serious concern, especially in the most suspect areas—steep, shallow, and rocky terrain features where we are aware that the persistent weak layer (PWL) still exists.
UAC forecasters from across the state describe how recent avalanches failing in a persistent weak layer (PWL) are triggered in spots with a thinner snowpack and propagate across slopes where the snowpack is deeper creating large and dangerous avalanches.

Overall, the likelihood or possibility of triggering an avalanche has decreased over the past few weeks. HOWEVER, the consequence of the avalanche on this layer has remained constant. Read - high consequence. While the most recent storm hasn't brought enough water or wind to push this layer over the edge again, we need to stay alert going into next week. With the potential addition of up to 2.5 inches of water, we should pay attention to this layer, as the likelihood of triggering an avalanche on it could spike or rise again in the next few days.
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.