Forecast for the Uintas Area Mountains

Craig Gordon
Issued by Craig Gordon for
Monday, March 13, 2023
The snow is beginning to feel solid and stable, but don't let your guard down-
While not widespread, pockets of CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger are found on steep, upper elevation leeward slopes, especially in the wind zone on drifted terrain facing the north half of the compass. Human triggered avalanches are PROBABLE, particularly on slopes with an easterly component to their aspect. Steep, mid elevation slopes offer MODERATE avalanche danger and human triggered avalanches are possible on steep, shady slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. You'll find LOW avalanche danger on most lower elevation terrain and slopes facing the south half of the compass where human triggered avalanches are UNLIKELY.

Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
I am currently working with the operation involved in the March 9th avalanche accident in Weber Canyon and preparing a report. Please be patient as I sort out the details of this complicated incident. A preliminary report is available HERE.
Weather and Snow
Nowcast- Yesterday's hit or miss snow showers delivered a nice coat of white paint adding up to 6" of spongy, white goodness. A brief overnight clearing gives way to high, thin clouds drifting into the region early this morning, as another weak weather system brushes the north half of the state. Temperatures register in the teens and low 20's, while light westerly winds barely spin ridge top anemometers, blowing just 5-15 mph. I know you're searching for quality riding conditions and it's all about aspect this time of year... solars have taken on heat and are crusty, but polars offer cold, settled snow on mid and upper elevation shady slopes.
Forecast- Look for a relatively warm, spring-like day with scattered snow showers developing as the day wares on. Temperatures climb into the mid and upper 30's while westerly winds remain rather well-behaved in the morning, bumping into the 30's along the high ridges late this afternoon.
Futurecast- A warm, wet, windy storm develops late Tuesday as an Atmospheric River (AR) has its sights set on the state. Winds begin cranking late in the day, coupled with dense, heavy snow overnight. The party really gets going Wednesday as a solid shot of moistures sweeps through the Uinta's. Colder air is slated to arrive late Wednesday night, winds shift to the northwest and scattered snow showers linger into Thursday. AR's can be fickle and tough to forecast for, but I think 18"-24" of snow with a couple inches of water is a good bet by Thursday morning.
Above is a timeline for the next couple days, crafted by our good friends at the NWS located right here in the City of Salt.
Detailed trip reports and recent obs are found HERE.
Recent Avalanches
From Saturday near Hoyt Peak, Max reported this well connected, sled triggered, storm slab avalanche on a steep, east facing, wind drifted slope.
But wait, there's more... plenty of avy activity to peruse if ya wanna geek out. Click HERE to track this years slide activity throughout the range.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Today's avalanches, like this piece of snow in the image above near Hoyt Peak on Saturday, will still pack a powerful punch today.
Yesterday's storm didn't change the balance, it's what's camouflaged underneath that can throw us a curve ball. Friday's storm rolled through the region like a cross-fire hurricane with very strong winds, stacking up a foot of new snow in short order. Wind drifted slopes were quite reactive on Saturday, less so yesterday, and I think today are even more stubborn and harder to trigger, but still have the potential to break deeper and wider than you might expect. In other words... there's enough volume to easily knock you off your feet and take you for an unexpected ride. If your objective is tagging sustained steep terrain, please consider the consequences of triggering a slide and have an exit strategy in place. No mystery here as this avalanche dragon is straight-forward and easy to avoid. Lose the wind and you lose the problem.

Additional Information
Weather stations-
And... rime events from January's atmospheric rivers severely crippled the Uinta weather station network. I'm working to get it back up and running, but a few stations are found HERE (click weather stations, and then on the Western Uinta tab)
Your observations are important, so please let me know what you're seeing... click HERE and contribute to this amazing community-based program
General Announcements
Issued at 03:37 on Monday March 13th this forecast expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 07:00 Tuesday March 14th 2023.
Before it gets too crazy, now is the time to book an avalanche awareness presentation for your group, club, or posse. You can reach Craig directly at 801-231-2170 or [email protected].

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.