Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Drew Hardesty for Saturday, November 12, 2022
Most terrain has a LOW avalanche danger and the snow is mostly stable. Know that minor sluffing is possible in steep northerly terrain.
With increasing southerly winds, however, I do expect the danger to rise to MODERATE for new and developing drifts of wind blown snow along the more exposed ridgelines today. Human triggered avalanches will be possible in this terrain. Out of the wind, the danger remains at LOW.
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Special Announcements
Many ski areas are now closed to uphill travel in order to prepare for winter operations. Resort uphill travel policies can be found HERE.
Weather and Snow
As of 5am, skies are clear with mountain temps in the mid to upper 20s up high, the single digits and low teens down low. Winds backed to the south overnight with some of the more exposed anemometers recording hourly averages of 25-30mph with gusts to 35.
A weak and diving storm system will bring high and then mid-level clouds to the Wasatch range today, along with warm temperatures and increasing southerly winds along the higher elevations. Mountain temperatures will rise to the upper 20s up high, the low 30s down low. Winds will blow 25-35mph with occasional gusts to 40. The weather looks "non-eventful' through the rest of the weekend and into next week.
The GOOD NEWS is that coverage is excellent for this time of year and riding conditions on the northerly aspects are almost as good as it gets. Solar aspects suffered some damage yesterday and will be crusted over this morning.
Storm totals since Monday in the Cottonwoods are 2-3' of snow containing 2.9-4.6" of water.
Snowpack depths are
3-4' in the Park City mountains;
4-5' in the Cottonwoods;
the highest snow totals for early November since 2004.

The Week in Review will appear regularly by early to mid-December, but given the impressive storm cycle over this past week, we have published a special early November edition.
Recent Avalanches
Yesterday's avalanche activity was limited to some shallow wet sluffs in the steepest south facing terrain in mid-Little Cottonwood Canyon.
With good visibility and easy travel, more evidence of the mid-week avalanche cycle is pouring in.
  • Wednesday natural avalanche on north facing Monte Cristo bowl in the back bowls of Mill B South of BCC. North facing at @11,000' (photo Spencer Donovan)

  • Thursday natural avalanche on north facing Sugarloaf in upper LCC. North facing at 10,800'. (photo Dave Richards)

We received several excellent observations from Thursday and I recommend you include reviewing all observations as part of your backcountry planning.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Developing pockets of wind drifted snow will be found along the more exposed ridgelines today, particularly on west to north to east facing slopes. These drifts will be shallow but I imagine them to be quite sensitive to the weight of a skier or rider. Gentle collapsing or shooting cracks are signs of localized instability. The danger will be limited to the wind zone today.
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.