Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Mark Staples for Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:13am

Avalanche conditions are generally safe and the danger is LOW.

We will continue with intermittent advisories until we begin to receive more snow.

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Special Announcements

Last night's first annual Ogden Backcountry Bash at The Front Climbing Gym was a GIANT SUCCESS! Thank you to everyone that came to support the Utah Avalanche Center and it's mission to keep everyone on top. A big shout out to all the businesses that made donations, volunteers that helped setup, as well as Lucky Slice for the delicious pizza and Talisman Brewery and Ogden's Own for the beverages. We appreciate all the support and look forward to making this an annual event. Lastly, we want to say a massive thank you to Kory Davis who has been working for months and months to make this party happen. Well done, Kory!

Weather and Snow

After a trace of snow last night in a few places, the most recent weather events that affected our fledgling snowpack were:

  1. Rain up to 10,000 feet on Nov 21st and record warm temperatures over the Thanksgiving holiday
  2. A "storm" that delivered 1 inch of snow on Nov 27th
  3. Clear, cold nights this week

The good news - Many slopes on the southern half of the compass and at lower elevations remain snow free. When snowfall finally comes, these slopes may have a more stable snowpack because they won't harbor old, weak snow near the ground.

The bad news - Because the snowpack is only 1-2 feet on upper elevation, northerly aspects, it is strongly affected by weather and will change a lot in the coming week. Unfortunately this time of year, it usually changes for the worse and becomes more weak and faceted. What about recent warm weather, didn't that help? Warm temperatures created wet layers of snow that are now refrozen. These crusts have simply made the snowpack more complicated with alternating layers of crusts and weak, faceted crystals. See Drew's recent snow profile below from a North facing slope at 9800 feet along the Park City Ridgeline.

How to read this snow profile? The blue "bars" represent hardness. Long bars are harder snow. Short bars are softer snow. Think of it as a bunch of blocks stacked on top of each other. Any young child will tell you that stacking bigger blocks on top of smaller blocks is not a stable structure. It works the same for the snowpack. The only reason we don't have unstable conditions is that the snowpack lacks stress from the weight of new snow.

Recent Avalanches

There has been no reported avalanche activity since Saturday Nov 18.

Avalanche Problem #1
Normal Caution

The snowpack is generally stable and avalanches are unlikely. The greatest hazard is hitting rocks or stumps.

This dry weather is a great opportunity to practice using your rescue gear or take a rescue class. We are offering one next Friday night at Brighton. Click HERE for more details or go HERE to find other classes.

Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer

The odds of triggering a persistent slab avalanche remain low because the snowpack has not been stressed by the weight of new snow.

Looking ahead - Once we get more snow, this avalanche problem will be a serious hazard on upper elevation, northely aspects. The mostly likely layer on which avalanches will break after Sunday's storm will be the thin layer of small facets on top of a crust near the snow surface. However, winds from the SW on Sunday should drift snow onto NE aspects. With enough wind loading on NE facing slopes, avalanches may also break at the ground.

Additional Information

Today and Saturday will be dry and mostly sunny. A cold front will bring snow and cold temperatures on Sunday, and we may even see some snow in the valley. This storm could bring 6 inches of snow or even a little more. Sunday and Monday nights should see mountain temperatures drop into the single digits F. By Tuesday, dry conditions return and a ridge of high pressure will be overhead for the rest of the week.

General Announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

To get help in an emergency (to request a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911. Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.

Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.

EMAIL ADVISORY If you would like to get the daily advisory by email you subscribe here.

DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.

TWITTER Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

UDOT canyon closures: LINK TO UDOT, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing - Blog/itinerary for the day

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts: it is critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel. You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here.

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Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell. You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.

This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

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