Avalanche danger high after winter storms

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-22 19:16:52-05

Snowstorms across northern and central Utah have created extreme avalanche dangers in the mountains. An avalanche closed Little Cottonwood Canyon overnight, forcing skiers to wait a little longer for much-anticipated snow-covered slopes.

Roads were closed on Little Cottonwood Canyon until midday Sunday. Traffic along Big Cottonwood Canyon, while open, wasn’t much better.

“The snow has got to be great, if people are waiting this long it has to be worth it,” said Dawn Stockmann.

Nearly all backcountry land is off-limits because of very high avalanche danger. New heavy snow falling on a weak existing snowpack is a perfect recipe for avalanches, experts say.

Bruce Tremper, Director of the Utah Avalanche Center, says skiers should stay off slopes of greater than 30 degrees or stay within resort boundaries.

“As you look around you can see avalanches on almost every one of these north facing slopes around here. All kinds of thing haven’t come down and that’s what we’re worried about,” Tremper said.

Most avalanches happened during the storm, but Tremper says backcountry avalanches can still be triggered in the new few days.

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