Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Brett Kobernik for Monday - December 8, 2014 - 6:11am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is LOW in most locations today. Continue to follow safe backcountry protocol by only putting one person on a slope at a time. Evaluate your terrain and the snowpack on that terrain carefully.

special announcement

Check out the Knowledge is Powder video for snowmobilers. The Utah Avalanche Center, with major funding from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, has released a very exciting 9-minute, avalanche safety video for snowmobilers. You can view it on Vimeo. Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/113677686. Great job by Trent Meisenheimer, Craig Gordon and everyone who helped shoot, provide footage, act and all the extras.

current conditions

Mild temperatures continue with most mountain locations hovering around 30 degrees. Winds are very light from the southwest. We have thin cloud cover.

As we monitor the snowpack during this stretch of high pressure there are a few things to note.

  • Most people continue to find the basal facets strengthening except Jake who I think is just trying to be difficult. ;) While some shear tests still propagate, the hand hardness of the grains continues to increase. The basal facets are moist at many locations. Increasing hand hardness and moist facets are good signs. Could they still produce an avalanche? Of course with a large enough new load which doesn't look likely right now.
  • Shallower snowpack locations in the upper elevations are becoming faceted through the entire pack. These areas could be an issue after the next significant storm.
  • Near surface faceting is underway on the upper elevation west through north through east facing slopes. This is not to be mistaken by the widespread layer of surface hoar out there right now. If you look closely with a scope under the surface hoar, you'll find small grained facets forming. These are always a potential weak layer and we will pay close attention to them during the week. Surface hoar generally gets disturbed by wind prior to storms but it too can occasionally act as a weak layer here in the Wasatch.

The key to all of this is monitoring what changes are happening in the snowpack prior to the next loading event. It's comforting when others are seeing similar conditions in their observations. If you sift through these, you'll note a lot of similar themes.

Salt Lake 12/7/2014 Observation: Grizzly Gulch Greg Gagne Details
Salt Lake 12/7/2014 Observation: East Bowl Jake Hutchinson - AAI Level 1 Details
Salt Lake 12/7/2014 Observation: Silver Fork Kobernik/Kendall Details
Salt Lake 12/7/2014 Observation: South Monitor Bowl mark white Details
Salt Lake 12/7/2014 Observation: Alta Periphery UDOT LCC Details

20141207 Silver Fork from Brett Kobernik on Vimeo

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 24 hours

There is generally a LOW avalanche danger today. Keep in mind LOW does not mean NO. It means the chances for getting caught in an avalanche are pretty slim. If you are getting into steep radical shady terrain in the upper elevations, this might be the place you could find trouble.


We'll see some thin clouds this morning but overall it'll be another nice day with mild temperatures and fairly light southwest winds. Highs will be around freezing along the upper ridges. We'll be under a ridge of high pressure with continued mild conditions through the week. The pattern looks active after Friday when a storm should move through on Saturday bringing snow. Weather models are showing a number of storms in the distance.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

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 and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort Dispatch (435-615-3322)

Snowbasin Resort Dispatch (801-620-1017), Powder Mountain Dispatch (801-745-3772 x 123).

Sundance Dispatch (801-223-4150)

EMAIL ADVISORY  If you would like to get the daily advisory by email you will need to subscribe here.​ 

DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.

Twitter Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

UDOT canyon closures:  LINK TO UDOT

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides Blog/Itinerary for the Day.  

Lost or Found something in the backcountry? - http://nolofo.com/

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

Discount lift tickets will soon be available at Backcountry.com - Thanks to Ski Utah and the Utah Resorts.  All proceeds go towards paying for Utah Avalanche Center avalanche and mountain weather advisories.

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is your responsibility to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here. IMPORTANT: Before skinning or hiking at a resort under new snow conditions, check in with Ski Patrol.  Resorts can restrict or cut off access if incompatible with control and grooming operations.

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you shop from Backcountry.com or REI:  Click this link for Backcountry.com or this link to REI, shop, and they will donate a percent of your purchase price to the UAC.  Both offer free shipping (with some conditions) so this costs you nothing!

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell.  You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.

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 exist.