Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Mark Staples for Monday, November 12, 2018 - 8:53pm
We are not issuing danger ratings with our forecasts at this time, but if there is enough snow to make turns or a slope is solid white - there is enough snow for avalanches. However, the greatest current hazard is hitting buried rocks, stumps, and downed timber. Most ski areas are now closed for uphill traffic. Until more snow comes, there are few options.
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Special Announcements
Alta (and most other ski areas) is now closed to uphill traffic. The Catherine's area remains open with access via the summer road.
Weather and Snow
Early Sunday (Nov 11) morning, 2-3 inches of snow fell in the upper Cottonwood Canyons. Above 9500 feet on northerly facing slopes, the snowpack is about 15 inches deep. Very thing snow or bare ground exists on many other aspects and at lower elevations.
On Monday (Nov 12), my parnter and I found about 15 inches of supportable snow on a north facing slope on Sunset Peak at 10,200 feet. Several crusts (red arrows in the photo below) made it supportable on skis. We also found weak, faceted snow above and below the crusts.
To get an avalanche, you need 4 ingredients: a steep slope, a trigger (us), a weak layer, and a slab. We had no avalanche concerns because the slab ingredient was missing.
There is no snow expected in the 7 day forecast, only cold dry weather. These conditions will further weaken and facet our fledgling snowpack. The good news is that many slopes are bare ground or have only a few inches of snow.
Recent Avalanches
No avalanches have been reported since last Monday (Nov 5) when a few wind slabs and sluffs were reported.

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