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 starts out mostly LOW this morning and will rise toward the MODERATE category on all aspects and elevations that have previous snow cover and receive new snow today. If snow amounts and rates are higher then expected the danger could exceed MODERATE for new snow instabilities. Carefully examine upper elevation north aspects for the potential of failure into faceted snow.


Temperatures are cooling but are still fairly warm in the mid 30s at 8500 feet and around 30 along the ridgetops. Southerly winds are slightly blustery gusting near 50 mph along the most exposed locations. Snow started about 1am and picked up intensity around 5 with Alta reporting 4 inches containing .57 inches water. The new snow contains some graupel.


There’s been no recent avalanche activity. The overall snowdepth ranges from zero inches on all aspects below around 8000 feet as well as on most southerly slopes. Depth is up to around 2 feet on the upper elevation shady slopes. The snowpack is mostly consolidated with damp grains and a rain crust near the ground with melt freeze crusts on the surface on the majority of aspects. Some faceting has occurred and small grained facets are present above about 9500 feet on steeper shady north aspects. (SNOWPIT) (OBSERVATION) There is also a thin heat crust on the surface of these north slopes up to at least 10,000 feet. From what I saw on Sunday the facets are not super alarming but this crust facet combo should be monitored closely and considered guilty until proven innocent. That is, with the new snow load today, expect it to collapse and fail until you’ve assessed it thoroughly enough to be satisfied it’s not an issue.


      Over the next 24 hours.

The new snow will be your main concern today. With it coming in fairly warm and cooling through the day, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of weakness within it. However, again, treat it as guilty until you see evidence of good stability. Shovel tilt tests and ski cuts are good tools to asses new snow instabilities. Watch for cracking while you move through it. New snow instability will be on the rise this morning with the apex of the instability mid morning through early afternoon during the most intense snowfall.


      Over the next 24 hours.

You’re going to have to go out of your way for a second concern of failure into faceted snow on high north aspects but don’t dismiss it. Do your homework before jumping into these steeper upper elevation slopes. Dig down and look for loose sugary crystals under the new snow possibly with a thin crust associated. Compression tests and extended column tests are good for looking at collapse of this type of weakness. Not many people will probably head for this type of terrain today but over the next few days this is where we will all want to be. Give it respect as we now need to start paying attention to our snowpack layering.


A decent storm should lay down around a foot of snow with an inch of water or possibly more in the Cottonwoods today and into tonight. Winds will start out from the southwest in the moderate category and shift to the northwest mid day with slowing speeds. Temperatures in the mid 20s to around 30 today will cool into the mid teens tonight. With relatively cold temperatures at 10,000 feet and a relatively warm lake temperature combined with the the right wind direction, northwest, we may see some lake effect in those favored areas tonight. Another smaller storm should move through Tuesday into Wednesday not producing as much snow as this one.


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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.