Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for Thursday - December 29, 2016 - 4:19am
bottom line

Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE at all upper elevations and on wind loaded mid elevation slopes. The danger is LOW in all other terrain.




special announcement

The National Avalanche Center just released this new video on the avalanche problems and how they work. This is a key aspect to mountain travel. Understanding what type of avalanche you're dealing with.

current conditions

Under clear skies this morning trailhead temperatures are hovering in the low teens, while the higher elevations are in the low 20's F. Winds have finally calmed down since yesterday and 10,000' speeds are 10-15 mph gusting into the low to mid 20's generally from the west.

You'll find a variety of different snow textures out and about today. However, the best powder snow will be found on mid elevation slopes that have not been effected by the relentless winds over the past few days.

recent activity

The only reported avalanches in the Central Wasatch mountains yesterday were a few wind slabs triggered by backcountry riders. One party remotely triggered a wind slab that was 16 inches deep 25 ft wide running about 250 feet down slope (picture below).

Another party triggered a soft slab avalanche well off the ridge line in a cross loaded gully feature in Hideaway Park in Days Fork, this is a north facing slope at 9700' in elevation. The avalanche was 12 inches deep 75 feet wide and ran 400 feet down slope.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Watch for fresh wind slabs formed by winds blowing generally from the west. These wind slabs are breaking on low density snow from the Christmas storm and can be 1-2 feet thick and up to 100 feet wide. These wind slabs could be tricky today as they will stabilize at different rates.

We generally call wind slabs a manageable avalanche problem. Meaning, all you have to do is keep an eye out for snow that looks fat, rounded, pillowy, slabby and or punchy. This tells you that denser and stiffer snow sits above softer snow. It may even feel hollow and sound like a drum. Simply, observe and avoid recent drifts of wind blown snow.

Avalanche Problem 2
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

On northwest through east aspects on upper elevations, there remains a chance of triggering a slide at the ground. While this is not likely, the additional weight of wind blown snow keeps this avalanche problem present. Faceted layers in the middle of the snowpack have mostly healed as we have not seen an avalanche break to these faceted layers for some time.

weather

Today we will have clear skies and warm temperatures. Winds will remain light out of the west and southwest and should behave with speeds at upper elevations 10-15 mph with the occasional gust into the 20's. We will see high pressure and warming temperatures over the next day or two. There is another storm on tap starting late in the weekend.

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.‚Äč

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.