Forecast for the Uintas Area Mountains

Issued by Craig Gordon for Monday, March 11, 2019 - 3:04am
In steep, upper elevation terrain, at and above treeline, you'll find MODERATE avalanche danger. Human triggered avalanches are POSSIBLE on steep wind drifted slopes, especially those facing the north half of the compass and particularly those with an easterly component to their aspect. While more the exception than the rule, any avalanche that breaks into deeper buried weak layers near the ground will result in a deep, dangerous slide.
Lower elevation, lower angle, wind sheltered terrain offers generally LOW avalanche danger.
Low
Moderate
Considerable
High
Extreme
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Weather and Snow
Snow showers developed late Sunday, adding an inch or two of light density snow to our already deep, robust snowpack, bringing us just 5" shy of century mark snow depths. Southeast winds are light, blowing 10-20 mph along the high ridges and temperatures are in the teens and low 20's. Riding and turning conditions are about as good as they get, especially in mid elevation, wind sheltered terrain.
Above is hourly data from Trial Lake (9,945') and Windy Peak (10,662'). To view more regional weather stations click here.
Our main man Ted Scroggin found deep, cold, light snow Saturday in the Gold Hill area and reports generally stable conditions. More on Ted's travels and insight here.
Recent Avalanches
No significant avalanche activity in the hills, but... cabins located in snowbelt mountain communities continue to produce significant, chimney stripping roofalanches .
Recent trip reports and avy activity found HERE.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
Recent snow generally fell straight out of the sky with little wind. However, underneath that fluff, lurks an old wind drift or two that may still react to our additional weight and has the potential to break deeper and wider than you might expect. Not widespread and limited to steep, leeward, upper elevation terrain, the best way to manage this setup is to simply look for and avoid any fat, rounded piece of snow, especially if it sounds hollow like a drum.
And don't forget-
Cornices are ginormous and may break back further than you might expect. You definitely wanna give these large, unpredictable pieces of snow a wide berth and not ruin someones day below by inadvertently knocking a boxcar size piece of snow down on them
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
The days are getting longer, temperatures are slowly warming, overall snow depths are becoming incredibly deep, and the snowpack is getting to its happy place.... as a matter of fact, so am I. We are trending in the right direction and recent snowpack stability tests along with the lack of avalanches failing on weak snow near the ground suggest we're turning the corner. That said... deep dangerous avalanches are becoming harder to trigger. All encouraging news for sure, but we've got to remember there's a lot of terrain that makes up the landscape of the western Uinta range and I'm not entirely convinced all slopes are good to go. The same kind of terrain I avoid early season still gives me pause right now. Steep, rocky, technical terrain with a thin, shallow snowpack remains suspect and there's no reason to tug on the dogs tail to see how it reacts, especially with all the other safe riding opportunities out there.
Additional Information
A storm system working its way south of the area produces mostly cloudy skies for us, along with a chance of snow showers throughout the day. High temperatures rise into the low and mid 30's and winds remain light, blowing less than 20 mph along the ridges. The next storm system impacts the area Tuesday night with snow lingering into Wednesday.
General Announcements
The information in this advisory expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 7:00 AM Tuesday March 12th, 2019.
If you're getting out and about, please let me know what you're seeing especially if you see or trigger and avalanche. I can be reached at craig@utahavalanchecenter.org or 801-231-2170
It's also a good time to set up one of our very popular avalanche awareness classes. Reach out to me and I'll make it happen.
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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