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Forecasts show 'considerable' avalanche danger in most of Utah's mountain ranges

File photo: Avalanche
Posted at 8:35 AM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 10:35:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Avalanche Center's latest forecasts show avalanche danger is "considerable" at high elevations and, in some cases, middle elevations in most of Utah's mountain ranges.

Read UAC's forecasts below:

Logan Area Mountains
Dangerous avalanche conditions and CONSIDERABLE danger exist on drifted upper and mid elevation slopes. People are likely to trigger avalanches of wind drifted snow, 1 to 3 feet deep, failing on a sugary persistent weak layer. Avalanches are possible at all elevations, but you can find safer conditions in lower angled and sheltered terrain, and at lower elevations where only a couple inches of new snow accumulated.

  • Cracking and collapsing indicate unstable snow.
  • Avalanches could be triggered remotely or from a distance.
  • Stay off and out from under drifted slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.

Ogden Area Mountains
A CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on all steep slopes at the upper elevations which have received more snow and more wind. They also have more faceted snow underneath. With less new snow at mid elevations, the avalanche danger is MODERATE.

Uintas Area Mountains
Expect dangerous avalanche conditions at upper elevations. Once triggered, todays avalanches will break deeper and wider than you might expect.

In the wind zone, at and above treeline, CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists. Human triggered avalanches are LIKELY on steep, wind drifted slopes. Terrain facing the north half of the compass, and particularly slopes with an easterly component to its aspect should be avoided.

Mid elevations offer MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes facing the north half of the compass and human triggered avalanches are POSSIBLE.

In either case, shallow snow cover and low tide conditions barely hide natural obstacles like stumps and rocks, so, triggering even a small slide can lead to an instant buzz-kill and a season ending injury.

LOW avalanche danger is found on mid and low elevation slopes, particularly those facing south, but snow cover is super thin.

Salt Lake Area Mountains
Today there is a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger at mid and upper elevations. There is a persistent weak layer of old faceted snow underneath snow from the last two storms that will fracture and produce avalanches. There are also fresh slabs of wind drifted snow that will avalanche. The simple solution is to avoid avalanche terrain and ride slopes less than 30 degrees in steepness.

Below 8,000', there is a LOW avalanche danger simply because there isn't enough snow.

Provo Area Mountains
Today there is a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger at upper elevations. There is a persistent weak layer of old faceted snow underneath recent snow that will fracture and produce avalanches. There are also fresh slabs of wind drifted snow that will avalanche. The simple solution is to avoid avalanche terrain and ride slopes less than 30 degrees in steepness.

At mid elevations, the avalanche danger is MODERATE.

Below 8,000', there is a LOW avalanche danger simply because there isn't enough snow.

Skyline Area Mountains
Upper elevation steep more northerly facing slopes are still dangerous. A CONSIDERABLE danger exists and human triggered avalanches are likely. If you avoid the upper elevation steep shady slopes, the danger is much lower and you can travel around without being worried you'll trigger an avalanche.

Moab Area Mountains
A MODERATE avalanche danger exists on steep northerly facing slopes where isolated wind drifts or shallow soft slabs are overlying layers of weak, sugary, faceted snow. Overall low coverage makes it very difficult to access avalanche terrain at this time, but if you find yourself in these areas, suspect slopes that have smooth, rounded deposits of wind drifted snow. or that feel hollow underneath. Cracking, whumphing, or collapsing of the snowpack are signs of instability. Even a small avalanche triggered under these conditions can have serious and painful consequences.

Abajos Area Mountains
A MODERATE avalanche danger exists on steep slopes facing NW-N-SE where stiff wind drifts or shallow soft slabs are overlying layers of weak, sugary, faceted snow. Suspect slopes that have smooth, rounded deposits of wind drifted snow. or that feel hollow underneath. Cracking, whumphing, or collapsing of the snowpack are signs of instability. Even a small avalanche triggered under these conditions can have serious and painful consequences.

Low snow cover is the biggest hazard out there right now with rocks and logs lurking just below the surface, and even a small avalanche triggered under these conditions can have serious and painful consequences.

Click here to visit the Utah Avalanche Center website.