Forecast for the Uintas Area Mountains

Craig Gordon
Issued by Craig Gordon on
Tuesday morning, March 29, 2022
While not widespread, near and above treeline, pockets of CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists. Human triggered avalanches failing on the midwinter drought layer (PWL) and breaking several feet deep remain LIKELY, especially on slopes facing the north half of the compass. MODERATE avalanche danger is found below treeline and human triggered avalanches breaking to this weak layer are POSSIBLE.
If you're looking for LOW avalanche danger, simply swing over to slopes facing the south half of the compass where new snow rests on a variety of melt-freeze old snow surfaces.

Scroll to the bottom for a note on slope angle and how to have a blast without entering avalanche terrain.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
Two generous UAC supporters are challenging the community to invest in the future of the UAC’s forecasting program during the 2022 Spring Campaign. They will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. Donate today to support avalanche forecasting! Click HERE for more deets.
Weather and Snow
Clouds thickened overnight, cold air settled into the region, and yes... it snowed! Nothing to get too excited about, but this season two inches of snow seems like a monumental event. As I compile this forecast at 03:00 there's another burst of snow headed our way and should deliver a couple more inches before sunrise. Yesterday's cow-tipping, southwest winds blowing 30-50 mph calmed down right around midnight, switched to the west, and currently blow 10-20 mph near the high peaks. Temperatures are cooling and currently register in the upper 20's and low 30's. Riding and turning conditions haven't vastly improved overnight, though last nights thin coat of white paint will help soften the rough ride underfoot.
After this mornings shot of snow we can expect a break in the action with another round of snow showers slated for late afternoon. Storm totals still look to be in the 3"-6" range, though sometimes things juice up a bit in the spring and perhaps we come out on the cautiously optimistic high side of totals. Temperatures top out in the upper 30's and westerly winds blow 15-25 mph, with a few higher gusts and a chance for lightening later this afternoon.
A break in the in action is on tap for Wednesday with another shot of snow slated for Thursday.
Spring... the fight between summer and winter, or in this case the mud room or the dog house.
Trip reports and snowpack observations are found HERE.

Looking for real-time temps, snow, or wind? Click HERE and then on the "western Uinta" tab for western Uinta specific, weather station network.
Recent Avalanches
No significant avalanche activity to report in the past few days.
An archive of recent slides is found HERE.

Your input is vital and we're interested in what you're seeing. Please contribute to this great community resource and go here to fill out an observation.
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
What's the deal?
From cold to warm to warmer and even warmer yet, but now slowly cooling off, the snowpack has been yanked all over the place in the past week. Sure, we saw some natural avalanche activity with slides failing on our problem child, the persistent weak layer (PWL) of sugary, faceted snow formed by the mid winter dryspell, but the range didn't exactly come unglued. The good news is... I bet the short term pain will be long term gain for our snowpack, but before diving headfirst back into the snow I think it'll proceed with caution and consider the PWL guilty until proven otherwise.
Where does the PWL exist?
It's widespread on wind sheltered, NW-N-NE-E facing slopes near and slightly below treeline. What makes this setup so tricky is this is exactly the type of terrain we ride when it's stormy or when the avy danger is elevated. Above treeline in alpine terrain, it's distribution is more pockety.
Where and how to ride?
It's been an unusual run of weird weather, it's an atypical snowpack, and that means we need to gather some solid snow beta before comfortably getting after it and into big terrain. During your ride today, tweak small test slopes and see how they're reacting. Is your track gouging into weak, sugary snow or if you step off your machine do you sink into an unsupportable mess of damp snow. If that's case then we still need to allow some time for the snowpack to come around and gain some strength. Remember... change happens quick in the spring and I think a little patience now will deliver solid returns in the near future.
Additional Information
Slope angle determines where avalanches can happen and where they can't. Generally, any slope steeper than 30 degrees is where avalanches occur. This means all you need to do is ride slopes less than 30 degrees in steepness and you'll never have to deal with avalanches.
There's a catch! You can't be underneath slopes steeper than 30 degrees either, even if you're on a flat slope, because avalanches can crash down on you. It turns out that skiing or riding slopes about 25 degrees in steepness is really fun and even more fun because there's no worry of avalanches. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of practice to estimate slope angles with your eyes alone. The way to get practice and the only way to know for sure is to measure slope angles with slope measuring tool shown in the photo below, and Toby describes it in this video. There are also many apps so that you can use your phone in a similar manner.

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
The information in this forecast expires 24 hours after the day and time posted, but will be updated by 07:00 Wednesday, March 30th.
Before it gets too crazy, now is the time to book an avalanche awareness presentation for your group, club, or posse. You can reach me 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.