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Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Greg Gagne
Issued by Greg Gagne for
Friday, February 9, 2024
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE at the upper elevations and mid-elevation slopes facing west through north and southeast. The avalanche danger is MODERATE at the low elevations and mid-elevation slopes facing southwest and south. Avalanches may involve soft slabs of storm snow or wind-drifted snow 2' to 3' deep. On slopes facing the north half of the compass (especially north through east), avalanches may fail in a persistent weak layer and be up to 6' deep.

Avalanche terrain can easily be avoided as there are great riding conditions on lower-angled slopes on all aspects.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
There is a NEW beacon training park in Park City near the Park City Day School. We encourage you to check it out and practice your avalanche rescue skills.
Weather and Snow
This morning: Temperatures are 10 - 15° F and winds are from the west/northwest and were light overnight, but have picked up around 6 am, gusting into the 20's mph at upper elevations, with gusts around 40 mph at 11,000'. Another inch or two of snow fell overnight.
Approximate storm totals since February 1: snow / water (SWE)
❄️ Upper Cottonwoods: 4.5' - 6' / 5" - 6.6"
❄️ Park City Ridgeline: 4' / 4"
Skiing and riding conditions are brilliant.
Today will feature snow showers with a few inches of snow, with some graupel possible this afternoon. Winds will be from the west and should decrease throughout the day, gusting into the teens at mid-elevations and 20's mph at 11,000'. Temperatures will rise into the upper teens and low 20's F.

It has been a snowy start to February, but after additional snow showers overnight and into Saturday morning, skies will clear Sunday with high pressure moving into the region through at least mid-week.
Recent Avalanches
No backcountry avalanches were reported from Thursday, but we continue to receive reports of avalanches from the natural avalanche cycle on Wednesday.
Control work from resorts on Thursday got avalanches failing within the storm snow and also avalanches failing in the deeply-buried persistent weak layer, up to 6' deep.

Be sure to make reading reported avalanches and observations part of your backcountry planning.
Avalanche Problem #1
New Snow
Although storm snow instabilities are settling out, you can still trigger an avalanche 2-3' deep failing within the storm snow, especially on slopes that were wind-loaded from strong winds from the south on Tuesday and Wednesday. These slabs of wind-drifted snow will be buried underneath recent snowfall, so you will need to probe down and look for a harder/denser slab below the snow surface.
Trend: Decreasing danger
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Several feet of snow (containing over 6" of water) should help heal our persistent weak layer (PWL) problem, but for now, it has only complicated things. Whereas on January 31, you could find a 1-2' slab on top of the facets (the PWL) in thinner snowpack areas, there is now and additional 2-3' of snow on top of the PWL - and even deeper in wind-loaded areas. UAC forecaster Dave Kelly describes the situation perfectly in his field day on Thursday in Days Fork (video below): "The weak layer is no less strong than it was a week ago, but the slab over the top is much thicker. The bottom line is that the difference is more weight. The avalanches will be bigger. Give this weak layer time."
Trend: Steady danger
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.