Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Mark Staples for Thursday, November 17, 2022
Avalanche conditions are generally safe today with a LOW danger on all aspects and elevations.
Consider taking time to brush up on your avalanche rescue skills.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
Most ski areas are now closed to uphill travel as they open or prepare to open for winter operations. Resort uphill travel policies can be found HERE.
Alta Ski Area has closed the Summer Road and access to Catherine's for lift area operations. Grizzly Gulch remains open.
Weather and Snow
This morning temperatures are mostly in the low teens F and some trailheads have temperatures in the single digits. Winds are blowing from the west 10-15 mph gusting 20-25 mph.
Today will be a repeat of yesterday. Sunny skies will allow temperatures to warm into the mid 20s F. Winds will continue blowing from the west at similar speeds as they are this morning.
Tonight skies will become cloudy ahead of a dry cold front that will pass over Utah on Friday. A few flurries are possible but that's it. More cold air will come behind this cold front with temperatures in the single digits F. Warmer air moves in on Saturday, and Sunday should have temperatures back in the mid 20s F.

Snow depths in the Central Wasatch Range are generally 3-4 feet above 9000 feet in elevation. Snow surface conditions vary a lot due to wind, sun, and cold temperatures. Northerly facing slopes hold soft snow that is still great powder because it is faceting and weakening. With such cold temperatures and low sun angles (meaning minimal solar heat), the fledgling snowpack is weakening and faceting to some degree on all slopes.
We'll be watching the snow surface as it could become the weak layer on which future avalanches break when more snow arrives.
Recent Avalanches
Glide cracks have been spotted in several areas including Mineral Fork, West Desolation Ridge, Broads Fork, and Stairs Gulch. These giant cracks in the snow indicate downhill movement of the entire snowpack and often occur on smooth grassy slopes or smooth rock slabs. They typically appear in the spring but may be happening now due to residual heat in the ground. The danger is that the snowpack can spontaneously avalanche at these cracks. The best thing to do is to avoid being underneath them.
Avalanche Problem #1
Normal Caution
There are no specific avalanche concerns today aside from a few isolated slabs of wind drifted snow which are always something to watch for and avoid. As mentioned above, also avoid being under any glide cracks.
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.