Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Monday - January 1, 2018 - 6:01am
bottom line

The Avalanche Danger is CONSIDERABLE on steep, mid and upper elevation slopes facing northerly through easterly. Here, avalanches 1 to 2 feet deep and up to 200’ wide can be triggered, failing on sugary, faceted snow. Avalanches can still be triggered from a distance and from below.

Avoid avalanche terrain by heading to slopes less steep about 30 degrees, which are not below steeper terrain, such as meadows and rolling, low angle terrain.

As wind speeds pick up today, any sensitive drifts forming along the high ridgelines should be avoided.

special announcement

Solitude will be conducting avalanche mitigation work in Honeycomb Canyon. Please stay clear of this area.

The Park City ski resort is doing control work in preparation for opening in McConkeys, Jupiter, and the Peak(Chutes) areas for the next several days​ These areas are closed to backcountry use.

current conditions

It’s 2018 - Happy New Year! And here's hoping for a "new" weather pattern, too. Under mostly clear skies, temperatures in the drainage bottoms and on the high peaks are in the teens, with readings in the 20s at the mid elevations. The southwesterly winds are currently light, in the 10 to 15 mph range, but forecast to increase.

Snow surface conditions are “variable” – a mix of sun and wind crusts, damp snow mid day, with soft, recrystallized powder on wind and sun sheltered slopes. Snow depths are still quite shallow – averaging 1 to 3 feet deep depending on aspect and elevation.

recent activity

Avalanche activity has slowed – there have been two days in a row with no backcountry avalanches reported. However, large collapses continued yesterday on the less traveled slopes of Little Water, Willows, and near Whiskey Hill. The avalanche list is here.

With over a dozen people caught, carried and some buried in northern Utah since Christmas, it’s worth reviewing the weather and avalanche activity in Greg’s “Week in Review”.

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

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

Slow, very slow…like watching paint dry on a humid day. The weak faceted layers in the snowpack were overloaded with the Christmas storms, and are still talking to us. Slides can still be triggered on this layer. And while the likelihood of triggering a slide is slowly decreasing, the expected size remains the same – one to two feet deep, around 100 to 200’ wide. The facets are most widespread on northwest through easterly facing slopes at the mid and upper elevations, and can be triggered from a distance or from below.

Nothing can hurry the process, so patience and your inclinometer are your friends - there are lots of free aps for your phone, or a wide variety of styles and prices for hand held inclinometers.

If you didn’t see it yesterday, here’s Trent’s video again of the recent skier triggered slide in Dry Fork – an incredibly clear explanation of the current northern Utah snowpack and avalanche problem.


The stubborn high pressure plaguing the western US will strengthen through the middle of the week. For today, temperatures will warm into the mid 30s at 9,500’. The southwesterly winds will increase, with 20 mph averages and gusts to 30 mph at the mid elevations, and 35 mph averages with gusts to 55 along the high ridgelines. Clear skies tonight, lows in the teens and twenties, and continued breezy winds. No storms in the future through at least Friday.

general announcements


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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 occur.