Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Monday - February 29, 2016 - 6:03am
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The danger is LOW. Remember that risk is always inherent in mountain travel. While the danger for avalanches is low, keep in mind that your terrain selection may magnify the consequences of even a typically harmless sluff or wind pocket.

special announcement

The Utah Avalanche Center greatly values our longtime partnership with our world-class resorts and is blowing out the remaining donated lift tickets from Snowbird, Snowbasin, Sundance, and Nordic Valley with reduced prices. Every penny you spend benefits the Utah Avalanche Center.

Check out our Garage Sale! Chock full of sweet backcountry gear - you can find the goods on our Facebook page here.

current conditions

You can thank today's extra day in the Leap Year. According to our colleagues at UDOT at the Alta Guard station in upper Little Cottonwood, we're neck and neck with last year for the second worst February on record. They've been keeping records since 1944/1945. Lowest on record was 34" in 1950. Last year was 34.8". As of yesterday we were at 34.4." My money is on today's trace to an inch to put us over the top for third place on the podium. Don't hold your breath for any acceptance speech.

We have mostly cloudy skies with reports of light snow falling in the mountains. Temps are in the mid to upper 20s. Westerly winds picked up yesterday and are now blowing 15-20mph with gusts to 30. 11,000' gusts are in the 40s and 50s. The corn harvest has been in full swing the past few days along with the spring flowers pushing through the dirt in my front yard.

recent activity

None from yesterday. There was one reported avalanche on Murdock Peak along the north end of the Park City ridgeline on Saturday. It was 6 inches deep and 40 feet wide on a slope that has produced repeated avalanches this winter.

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

A bit slow in the avalanche news cycle these days. Still, it's recommended to travel with "Normal Caution" in the backcountry. Be suspicious of cornices and consider the yawning glide cracks in Stairs, Broads, and Mill B South to be suspect. It may be that Utah has the only glide avalanche fatalities in the nation (April 2001) and a couple acquaintances of mine suffered injuries from a glide release cascading down from above in Broads fork just a few years ago.

What else? Slide for life situations in the steep terrain with hard melt freeze crusts on the east, south and westerly aspects. Cornice fall. Fillings rattling out of your teeth. Knee tweaks in the trapdoor wind-jacked terrain. The list is endless.


We'll have a few weak systems move through over the course of the week but I wouldn't expect them to add up to much or affect the avalanche conditions. For today, we'll see perhaps a trace to an inch or two, primarily in areas north of I-80. Winds will be 20-25mph from the west and northwest. Cooler air filtering in should drop ridgetop temps down a few degrees to the low 20s. The next weak "storm" ripples through Tuesday night into Wednesday that'll bring a period of strong winds from the west but have little else to show for all the bluster. The models are hinting at a pattern shift toward a more active, progressive weather pattern by Sunday. Stay tuned.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out 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.

To get help in an emergency (to request a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911.  Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.

Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.

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.

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing - Blog/itinerary for the day  

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

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here

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.