UDOT PLANNED AVALANCHE CLOSURES!!

Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Drew Hardesty for Friday, January 11, 2019 - 5:38am
Many areas have a LOW avalanche danger. Localized areas of MODERATE danger, however, exist for triggering an avalanche that breaks 1-3' deep into faceted snow at the mid and upper elevation northwest through east facing terrain. Continue to approach recent wind drifted slopes with caution.

Safe travel protocol is key: make a plan, communicate, one-at-a-time, keep eyes on your partner.
Low
Moderate
Considerable
High
Extreme
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Weather and Snow
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As of 4am, skies are overcast with a random snowflake or two falling in the Cottonwoods. Winds are light from the north. Mountain temps are in the upper teens to low 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 35-45" along the Park City ridgeline and 60-70" in the Cottonwoods. Many trailheads and lower elevation exits have snow depths from 35-45" (elevations roughly 6000'-7500'). A trace to an inch of snow fell yesterday. One of those snowflakes - rimed stellars - is below (courtesy of ski partner Doug Wewer/desertsnowphotography.com).
Recent Avalanches
No new avalanche activity was reported from the backcountry yesterday.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
Wednesday's stronger southerly winds and subsequent wind drifts have gained a great deal of strength over the last 48 hours and most of them have stabilized in this time. 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
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
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 from some of the outlier portions of the range (Lambs, Mt Aire, Mill Creek, repeaters, etc) 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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