Salt Lake Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Brett Kobernik


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

The avalanche danger is most pronounced in the Little Cottonwood Canyon periphery with a CONSIDERABLE danger there. All other areas have a MODERATE danger. This means that human triggered avalanches are possible. The danger may rise if any heating occurs during the day.


The Park City ridgeline and Big Cottonwood picked up about another 4 to 7 inches overnight, a few inches in the Provo area mountains and basically nothing in the Ogden area mountains. Little Cottonwood picked up 140 inches overnight. That’s just a joke folks reflecting the huge amounts of snow that’s fallen. They’re really only up to around 22 inches since yesterday morning. The last foot that fell is ridiculously light density. This does bring totals in Little Cottonwood to over 150 inches in the two week period. Temperatures are in the teens. Along the highest ridgelines there was a bump in wind speeds overnight from the northwest but they’ve slowed again. Mid and lower elevations were spared of any wind affect.


While many people got on to steep slopes without incident on Friday there were a handful of soft slabs that were triggered with one person caught and carried. This was on a slope of about 40 degrees in steepness on a north aspect at about 9500 feet in upper Porter Fork. He was partially buried, uninjured and was able to stand up and get out of the debris. Three other skier triggered slabs were reported as well, one in north facing Kessler, one in southeast facing MacDonalds Draw, and one in the Millie back bowls near Brighton. No one was caught in any of these. All these slides had lingering new snow instabilities and were about a foot deep. Other observations included sluffing and large cornices that broke off easily if provoked.


      Over the next 24 hours.

For today our main concern is instabilities within the new snow. While most of the instability will be in the form of sluffing, I wouldn’t rule out areas that have slab formation which may produce a much more serious problem. The slight bump in overnight winds may have enhanced some slab formation once you’re up around the 10000 foot level. I would think that the instabilities from Friday should have settled out but you’ll need to do your homework. Continue to evaluate the snow all day long with various shear tests including shovel tilt and compression tests. Slope cuts should be used and cut above any existing track you can to see if any cracking occurs. Don’t let your guard down until you leave the mountains. I won’t be surprised to hear about someone triggering a slide today. Not so much because I think things are really unstable but without a real pronounced hazard in many areas, I have a feeling people will tend to accept quite a bit of risk.


      Over the next 24 hours.

Heat initiate avalanching is a possibility as the day goes on. Greenhousing with thin clouds or direct sun could make the new snow become unstable quite quickly. If you feel the slightest hint of warming, evaluate where you are and where you need to go to keep out of avalanche paths that may release naturally. You may need to alter your route accordingly. Stay out of gullies and terrain traps during these periods. Rollerballing is the first clue the snow is heating up.


The storm is winding down but periods of snow are expected this morning with up to another 6 inches possible probably most pronounced in the Cottonwoods. 8000 foot temperatures will be in the upper 20s and low to mid 20s along the ridges. Winds will be from the northwest in the 5 to 15 mph range along the mid elevation ridges gusting into the 20s and maybe 30s along the more exposed locations. The storm winds down this afternoon with a sharp ridge moving in and warmer temperatures Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out on Friday and won’t be out today. Check their operations planning page is here.

Our web site is now formatted for iPhone. You can also download a free iPhone application from Canyon Sports to display the Bottom Line. Search for Utah Avalanche on the Apple's iPhone Apps page or in iTunes.

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 toward the Tombstone lift, 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.

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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).

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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.

Evaluate 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.