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 MODERATE for recent deposits of wind drifted snow. This will be most pronounced along the upper elevation easterly facing aspects. Hidden rocks and stumps still pose the greatest threat to backcountry travelers.


It's cold out this morning with temperatures in the single digits at most mountain locations. Winds were somewhat gusty during the frontal passage on Saturday but then slowed and have stayed in check overnight. They are from the north northwest in the 5 to 10 mph range gusting to around 15 along the mid elevation ridges. The winds did transport a little snow more pronounced in the upper elevation terrain. Upper Little Cottonwood picked up about 6 inches of, once again, quite light density snow. Big Cottonwood picked up just a little less. This brings snow totals in the Cottonwoods from the last two storms to about 10 inches.


I observed a micro-natural avalanche cycle during my backcountry travels in Little Cottonwood on Saturday. This was a classic case of a period of high snowfall rates producing very sensitive ultra-soft slabs. I was able to trigger a few of these by disturbing snow on steep slopes. Some released remotely. These were relatively harmless being only a few inches deep with very soft and shallow debris piles. None of these ran very far that I saw and most wouldn't even knock a person over. By the time I left the mountains, the snowpack had stabilized and I was unable to get anything to crack or move.


      Over the next 24 hours.

The primary concern for today will be any areas in the upper elevations where the snow has drifted into a deeper and thicker slab. West and northwest winds will have loaded east and south east slopes. As always, watch for crossloaded pockets on all aspects. Some of these slabs may be sitting in areas that have quite weak sugary snow underneath them. The weak snow is most pronounced on northerly facing slopes above about 10000 feet. While I don't think there's enough weight to overload these layers today, it's worth keeping an eye out. Do your homework by digging around and by pushing your ski pole handle through the snow to identify areas where this layering might be present.


Today we'll see clearing skies with temperatures climbing into the low 20s at 8000 feet. Winds will remain from the north and speeds may increase slightly. Ridging occurs over the next few days bringing mild weather with warmer temperatures. Weather models currently show a few storm systems possible for later in the week.


Envision Utah is looking for input on the “Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow” update of the County's 1989 Plan, in partnership with Salt Lake City, the State of Utah and the US Forest Service. There is an online survey “Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow” at .

We will be issuing intermittent morning or afternoon avalanche advisories as conditions change.

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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.

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.