Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Bruce Tremper for Thursday - January 29, 2015 - 6:01am
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We have a LOW danger in the Salt Lake and Provo area mountains today with a MODERATE danger in the Ogden and Logan area mountains. Cautions: watch for shallow wind slabs in upper elevation, wind exposed terrain and if we get sun today, watch for small, shallow, wet-loose avalanches on steep, sun exposed slopes.

special announcement

There's still some space in the Avalanche Advanced Skills Workshop I'm teaching next week with a Thursday lecture and a Saturday field day. More info.

Scientists from the Snow and Avalanche Lab at Montana State University are seeking more participants for their project examining decision making and travel in avalanche terrain. Their project aims to collect GPS location information (from your smartphone) and survey responses from backcountry skiers and riders to better understand what types of terrain are used and how decisions are made. Their focus is on backcountry skiers and riders of all abilities and experience.

For more information: www.montana.edu/snowscience/tracks For snowmobilers: www.montana.edu/snowscience/sleds

current conditions

The Salt Lake area mountains ended up with a mighty 1-2 inches of fresh snow from Tuesday night and Wednesday and the Ogden and Logan area mountains won the snow contest with 4-6 inches. It's amazing how much just a skiff of new snow can improve really bad snow conditions. You can actually still find some nice, settled, loud powder (near-surface faceted snow) on the sun and wind sheltered slopes if it's not tracked up already. As you can see, I suffer from what Daniel Kahneman calls the "optimistic bias." I actually had a great time yesterday wandering around in the fog on crusty snow by myself.

This morning, the mountains stick up above a low elevation, stratus cloud layer. The wind is light, it's in the mid 20's and we will have some increasing high clouds today.

recent activity

Our first string avalanche sniffer, Mark White, found a small, shallow, soft wind slab along the Park City ridge line but that's the only action we heard about in the Salt Lake or Provo area mountains. In Ogden where they got 6 inches of new snow, they had quite a few shallow soft slabs running on the slick crusts.

Mark White photo along the Park City ridgeline

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

It's mostly Low danger in the central and southern Wasatch range. The little bit of new snow will not change avalanche conditions too much. Two cautions: if we get sun, the 1-2 inches of new snow may get soggy and create a few small, wet, loose avalanches in the steep, sun exposed terrain, and second, you may find a few small, shallow wind slabs in upper elevation, wind exposed terrain.


Today, we expect some increasing high clouds with light wind and temperatures from the mid 20's to the upper 30's. The low stratus clouds should dissipate as the high clouds arrive.

For the next couple days: I know it's mid winter but we have warm, monsoon moisture surging up through Mexico from near the equator over the next couple days. It will affect mostly Arizona, southern and central Utah, which may get up to a foot of snow, but the clouds will barely lap into northern Utah where we expect only an inch or two. And so it goes....our January doldrums continue. We ended up with just one significant storm in January, which seems like a distant memory right now.

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, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral

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 are now 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.