Salt Lake Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Brett Kobernik


Dangerous avalanche conditions are occuring or are imminent. Backcountry travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

The AVALANCHE WARNING continues for the mountains near Salt Lake, Provo, Ogden, Logan and the Western Uintas. Weak snow from November and December is getting overloaded with heavy new snow. Natural avalanches are expected and human triggered avalanches are certain. People should avoid all steep slopes which includes being below any steep slope. Backcountry travel is risky and should only be attempted by the most well trained and experienced backcountry traveler.


UDOT will have temporary road closures on the by-pass road in Little Cottonwood Canyon from 7 to about 7:30 for avalanche control work.


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 HIGH. People should avoid all steep slopes and stay out from underneath steep slopes. Backcountry travel should only be attempted by the most well trained and experienced traveler and even so, no one can justify getting onto steep slopes. Natural avalanches are expected with additional snowfall.


Well, we got our slab finally and it’s like paste out there!! Titus says “Yikes” with 14 inches of inverted snow containing 2 inches of water at Alta. Other snow totals are 4 to 8 inches in Big Cottonwood and along the Park City Ridgeline, and Sundance is at a foot. Ogden has the most with 16 inches of snow and 2.4 inches of water at Snowbasin. Most everyone is in the 13-15% density range and noting a distinct inversion within the new snow. The snow level is near 7000 feet this morning.


No significant activity was reported from Wednesday however, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a natural avalanche cycle that occurred overnight. These aren’t “valley crashers” yet but nothing you want to even think about toying with. It’s a good day to check out our world class ski resorts.


      Over the next 24 hours.

I’m very busy in the office this morning but it’s an easy forecast. We got snow and it's going to avalanche. Don’t mess with it! This is one of the most unusual set ups many of us have ever seen and it should not be taken lightly.

Slopes that haven’t avalanched are just waiting. Areas where it was just pure sugar from the surface to the ground will go first. Other areas where there are hidden variable wind slabs will need more weight. But it’s all academic. The bottom line is you can’t get onto any steep slope that had preexisting weak snow and has received significant new snow and expect it to stay in place. I expect to hear about remotely triggered avalanches today, that is, avalanches that are triggered from a distance. As long as we keep adding more weight, natural avalanches are expected.


      Over the next 24 hours.

The inversion within the new snow adds to the overall avalanche danger. This inversion may very well act as a weak layer within the new snow making avalanches possible in areas that didn’t have preexisting weak snow. This would include any southerly slope that had firm melt freeze crusts prior to this storm.


Periods of snow should continue through the day and be more pronounced north of I 80. An additional half inch of water is possible in the Central Wasatch which translates into 3 to 6 inches of snow with snow levels up to around 8000 feet. Westerly winds won’t get out of hand but will continue in the moderate range along the ridges. Temperatures remain mild in the mid 20s along the ridges. The storm will continue into Friday before a break later in the day. It looks like we’ll see another round of snow starting during the day on Saturday and lasting into Sunday.


If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry - especially if you are adjacent to a ski area – please call the following teams to alert them to the slide and whether anyone is missing or not. Rescue teams can be exposed to significant hazard when responding to avalanches, and do not want to do so when unneeded. Thanks.

Salt Lake – Alta Central (801-742-2033)

Ogden – Snowbasin Patrol Dispatch (801-620-1017)

Provo – Sundance Patrol Dispatch (801-223-4150)

Dawn Patrol Forecast Hotline, updated by 05:30: 888-999-4019 option 8.

Daily observations are frequently posted by 10 pm each evening.

Subscribe to the daily avalanche advisory e-mail click HERE.

UDOT canyon closures UDOTat (801) 975-4838

Wasatch Powderbird Guides are suspending the opening of helicopter skiing operations. Once we have enough snow cover, daily updates to this blog begin for the 2011-2012 season.

You have the opportunity to participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submittingavalanche and snow observations. You can also call us at 801-524-5304 or 800-662-4140, or email by clickingHERE

Donate to your favorite non-profit –The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center. The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.

We will update this forecast tomorrow morning. Thanks for calling.

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.