Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Thursday - February 16, 2017 - 5:58am
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We have a mostly LOW avalanche danger. Wet and dry sluffs in the surface snow are possible in steep terrain. Fresh deposits of wind slab may be shallow and isolated, but sensitive to human provocation. Remember that your choice of terrain will either amplify or minimize the overall risk of incident.

special announcement

Thursday, Feb 16 - The Utah Adventure Journal Speaker Series presents Brendan Leonard with a presentation at Snowbird's Wildflower Lounge at 6 p.m. about his new book Sixty Meters to Anywhere. The presentation is free, but a donation for the Utah Avalanche Center enters you into a drawing for great prizes.

Companion piece to #NothingBadHappened called Hindsight 20/40.

current conditions

Skies are clear. Winds and temperatures have bumped overnight. Southwest winds now spin at 10-15mph with gusts to 20. Overnight lows are at or just above freezing along the ridgelines with mid-elevation temperatures still in the low 40s. Trailheads and valley bottom temps, of course, are in the upper teens to low 20s. Soft settled powder still exists in the mid-elevation shady slopes with supportable corn-like conditions on the south end of the compass.

recent activity

Reported activity yesterday includes continued wet and dry point release sluffing in steep terrain. Most of these were not big enough to bury a person, though they certainly were enough to knock someone off their feet. Or worse - standing in the runout of long, sustained avalanche paths (see Schutz pic of NE chute of Elk Point on Timpanogos below). The photo below is in Primrose Cirque above Aspen Grove in the north fork of Provo Canyon, just up the street from Sundance resort. Primrose Cirque can be a terrifying place. Not only is the casual recreationist soon surrounded by 270° of avalanche paths, but one path adjacent to the NE Chute of Elk Point - the Theater in the Pines path (down and looker's left of the sluffing snow) - occasionally runs down to the parking area where it twice took out an Avalanche Danger sign in the 1990s. The Primrose Cirque has also claimed the lives of four people over the past 15 years.

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

Normal Caution. Remember that risk is inherent in mountain travel. Avalanche concerns for the backcountry include the following:

  • Shallow fresh wind deposits generally relegated to the upper elevation ridgelines. While shallow, the new drifts may be particularly sensitive to human provocation today. They'll be more pronounced on north through east facing slopes above 9500'.
  • Continued dry sluffing in the weakening surface snow in the steep northerly terrain at the mid and upper elevations. Ski cuts are effective mitigation tools for these.
  • Continued wet sluffing on the sunlit aspects with daytime warming. Activity should commence earlier due to the warmer overnght temperatures. Damp rollerballs and minor sluffing are possible at the mid-elevation shady slopes.
  • Cornices loom large over many ridgelines - continue to give them a very wide berth.
  • Glide releases remain possible in Stairs, Broads, and pockets of Mill B South of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

A weakening storm will bring us some clouds, increased southwesterly winds, and perhaps a trace to 2" overnight. The weekend storm is diving well to the south of us but should keep us under an unsettled southerly flow with a few inches of snow likely over the weekend. For today, expect southwesterly winds to blow 20-30mph. Higher hourly averages expected north of I-80. Mountain temps will reach to near 50° at 8500'.

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.