A powerful winter storm has created very dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry. The avalanche danger is HIGH.
In effect from 6 AM MST this morning to 6 AM MST Thursday
For the mountains of Northern Utah, including the Wasatch Range north of I-80, Western Uintas, and the Bear River Range.
Heavy snowfall and blowing snow overloaded slopes with buried persistent weak layers and created widespread areas of unstable snow. Human triggered and natural avalanches are likely. People should avoid travel in avalanche terrain today.
Winter returns from its hiatus, and then... it snowed! In fact, overnight snow totals are pretty uniform throughout the range with 5" of snow and .30" H2O near the trailheads and 8" with .50" H2O in the high country. West and southwest winds ramped up overnight, averaging in the 30's with landscape changing gusts near 50 mph along the high ridges. Temperatures hover in the 20's at lower elevations while registering in the teens near the peaks. Riding and turning conditions continue to improve and you can have a blast today on low angle terrain or a big open meadow.
A good shot of snow is on tap for this morning with an additional 3"-6" expected before turning showery after lunch. Expect strong ridgetop winds this morning shifting to the west and northwest and decreasing late in the day. Temperatures don't vary much from where we're at this morning and crater into negative territory overnight.
Lingering snow showers are on tap for Thursday with clear, dry, warm weather on tap to round out the work week.
Trip reports and current state of the 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.
We're still sifting through details, but here's what we know about a close call late Monday afternoon near Humpy Peak-
A group of sledders is riding in the Humpy drainage when one snowmobiler triggers a small piece of snow on a steep, north facing slope which catches, carries, and buries him in a terrain trap (small gully). The rider tries to deploy his airbag, though is unable to successfully engage and he's buried with a hand sticking out of the snow. The sledder briefly loses consciousness, but everyone in the group is wearing avalanche rescue gear and they quickly locate the buried rider and dig him out. The group is pretty rattled, but after taking some time to regroup in the Whitney Basin warming hut, they ride back to their rigs and return home safely.. Whew... close call!