Our winter has officially started with nearly 3 feet of total snow at upper elevations in the Salt Lake area mountains. From the few reports I have, it seemed to come in dense and right-side-up, just the way we like it. Usually there are not many problems with the first snowfall of the season because it falls on bare ground, which bonds well. But with more snow expected this weekend, we may start having increased avalanche activity.
We are not funded to begin work until November 1st, when our full staff returns and we will start issuing intermittent afternoon updates. We will switch to our normal morning schedule when the snowstorms and avalanche conditions decide it's time.
In the mean time, remember that avalanche accidents often occur in the early season. Ski areas are not yet doing avalanche control and you should consider them to be backcountry terrain where you will need to follow standard backcountry protocol such as going one at at time, don't jump in above another person, carry rescue gear and have at least basic avalanche education.
This is a good time to put fresh batteries in your beacon, practice in your back yard and brush up on your avalanche skills with the Know Before You Go video Part 1, and Part 2, websites or books.
We are slowly adding avalanche classes to our Education Page as they get scheduled. We don't have funding to begin avalanche work until the first week of November, so you will have to be patient.
Be sure to check out upcoming events on our home page such as the upcoming Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop at the Depot on Saturday, November 6th. It is an afternoon of continuing education for advanced amateurs.
Finally, If you are getting out, you have the opportunity to contribute to your own avalanche center by filling out the observation form on our home page, send an email to email@example.com or leave a message on our answer machine at 801-524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.
I will likely update this information again on Friday.