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Forecast for the Uintas Area Mountains

Craig Gordon
Issued by Craig Gordon for
Friday, March 17, 2023
MODERATE avalanche danger is found on steep, upper elevation leeward slopes, especially those in the wind zone facing the north half of the compass. Wind drifted slopes at and above treeline remain suspect and human triggered avalanches are POSSIBLE, particularly in terrain with an easterly component to their aspect. If you're looking for LOW avalanche danger, remember the Uinta's have plenty of low angle, roly-poly terrain. Human triggered avalanches are UNLIKELY on most mid and lower elevation slopes facing, particularly those facing the south half of the compass.

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Weather and Snow
Nowcast- It's crisp this morning as clear skies allowed overnight temperatures to uniformly dip into the single digits from the ridges to the trailheads. Winds are remarkably light, blowing just 5-10 mph even near the high peaks. Lower elevation solars took on a taste of strong spring sun late in the day and they'll have a crust this morning, but swing around to wind sheltered polars and you'll be rewarded with cold, creamy snow.
Forecast- Another sunny, yet cool day is on tap. High temperatures rise into the low 30's while east and northeast winds remain well-behaved, blowing in the teens near the high ridges. About the same weather for Saturday with a weak system slated to round out the weekend.
Futurecast- Long duration storminess is expected next week, with the potential for yet another AR.... yes! This storm trends colder than this last one and I'll keep ya update as deets unfold.
Our friends at the NWS provide a glance into our upcoming weather in the image above.
Detailed trip reports and recent obs are found HERE.
Recent Avalanches
On his way to the Haystack zone, avy-savvy-snow-pro, Joey Manship staged out of the Soapstone Trailhead yesterday, where he spotted this fresh slide that gouged into weak snow on a steep, rocky portion of the slope.
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
A well-placed thump yesterday on a steep, east facing slope, was enough to initiate this shallow wind drift. Not particularly big, but could definitely boss you around, particularly in sustained, steep terrain.
Most of our recent wind drift issues have settled nicely and are generally comfortable in their own skin. But remember... the Uinta's are a big place and I bet there's piece of snow out there that'll break deeper and wider than you and I might expect. Steep, upper elevation, wind drifted slopes facing the north half of the compass still feel suspect to me. I'm all about avoidance and think there's no reason to mess around and pull the avalanche dragon's tail today, because there's plenty of great riding out there on lower angle slopes, especially those with no overhead hazard.

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 03:47 on Friday March 17th this forecast expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 07:00 Saturday March 18th 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.