Salt Lake Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Evelyn Lees


Danger by aspect and elevation on slopes approaching 35° or steeper.
(click HERE for tomorrow's danger rating)

Danger Rose Tutorial

Bottom Line for the Salt Lake and Park City mountains:

The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  These drifts are most widespread in mid and upper elevation terrain, where avalanches 1 to 2 feet deep can be released by people on steep slopes.  Out of the wind affected terrain, steep slopes have a MODERATE danger for both soft slabs and sluffs.  Avoid travel in steep, wind affected terrain, and evaluate the snow and terrain carefully and use good travel habits.


A few last snowflakes are falling in the mountains this morning and temperatures range from the single digits along the ridges to the upper teens at 7,500’.  24 hour snow totals are in the 5 to 10 inch range at the upper elevations.  The track erasing winds finally backed off a bit around midnight.  Currently, northwesterly winds are averaging 10 to 15 mph, with gusts into the twenties.  The higher ridges are still getting scoured, with averages closer to 25 mph and gusts in the 40’s. 


Yesterday’s background roar told the story, and most people let the wind dictate their terrain choices.  There was only one reported backcountry avalanche, triggered right in front of Craig’s 101 Avalanche Workshop.  His class had just decided not to ski an out-of-bounds wind loaded slope when a skier from another party jumped onto the slope and effectively demonstrated the current instability by triggering a 2’ deep by 200’ wide wind slab.  The person was carried, partially buried and lost a ski.  In addition, people whose work keeps them in windswept terrain found widespread, easily ski triggered class 1 and 2 soft slabs all day long.


      Over the next 12 hours.

Sensitive winds drifts will again be the main avalanche problem today, to be found on slopes of many aspects and elevations, even on the westerly windward slopes.  The strong winds cross loaded, or drifted, snow around numerous terrain features including mid slope breakovers, gully walls, sub ridges, and rocks.  Today’s more northerly winds aren’t as strong as yesterday’s, but will still continue to move snow along the higher ridges.  Cornices will be sensitive, breaking back further than expected.    


      Over the next 12 hours.

In the miscellaneous, but not forgotten, category, there are a variety of isolated avalanche concerns.  In rocky terrain with a thin snowpack, it is still possible for slides to break to the ground.  I’m also suspicions of a thin sun crust that developed Tuesday on some steep southerly facing slopes which could be a weak layer for the soft slab above.  And finally, on a few sheltered, shady slopes, pockets of lingering sugary facets could provide a weak layer in surprising places. 


Patchy moisture will produce some very light snow this morning, before high pressure moves in from the west.  Decreasing clouds today, with temperatures warming into the mid 20s at 8,000’ and into the teens at 10,000’.  The northerly winds will remain in the 10 to 15 mph range, with the highest peaks averaging closer to 25 mph and gusting into the 40’s and 50’s.  Decreasing winds tonight, with low temperatures in the single digits and teens, followed on Friday by full sun and much warmer temperatures.  A weak weather disturbance will move across northern Utah Saturday night, bringing colder air and a threat for light snow. 


 Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not get out yesterday, and today if winds allow, they  will have one ship in Mineral, Silver, Days and Cardiff, with another ship in AF, and home runs in White Pine and Grizzly.  Operations planning page is here.

The last of the Beaver Mountain Discount tickets have been reduced to $35, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  Click HERE for details.

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is hosting a Level 2 avalanche class in February which is now open for registration by going to the Black Diamond retail store.  More information is HERE.  

Tickets are now available for the annual Backcountry Awareness Dinner on February 13th, with registration through the Snowbird Renaissance Center.

Beacon training parks are up and running!  There is one at Snowbasin, one on the Park City side at the top of Canyon’s gondola, one in Little Cottonwood near the Snowbird parking structure on the bypass road, and in Big Cottonwood a training  park is at the west end of Solitude's lower parking lot.

If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click HERE.

For a text only version, the link is on the left side bar, near the top.

UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found by calling (801) 975-4838. Our statewide toll free line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.  To find out more about how you can support our efforts to continue providing the avalanche forecasting and education that you expect please visit our Friends page.

Your snow and avalanche observations help everyone in the backcountry community.  Please let us know what you're seeing by leaving a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email us at (Fax 801-524-6301).

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.  This advisory does not apply to ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally conducted.

Bruce will update this advisory by 7:30 tomorrow morning.

This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done.  This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

This advisory provided by the USDA Forest Service, in partnership with:

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, Utah Division of Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority and the friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center. See our Sponsors Page for a complete list.