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Avalanche forecasters warn to stay away from backcountry this weekend, especially in Cache Valley area

Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 20:46:02-05

The Utah Avalanche Center has put out a warning for high avalanche danger this weekend, especially in the Cache County area.

The snowfall was constant on Friday in the Cache Valley area. Forecasters said near the top of Logan Canyon at Tony Grove saw 14 inches at the beginning of the morning.

Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Toby Weed said he was in a few avalanches before he was a forecaster.

“It’s more like being in a car accident — it happens really quickly and it’s really violent," Weed said. “Nobody wants to get caught, much less buried, in an avalanche. It’s a horrible thing to live through and to die doing.”

Living through an avalanche is what inspired Weed to become a forecaster, where he's worked for nearly two decades.

In the past week, Weed said 10 people throughout the United States have not made it back from the backcountry to see their families because they triggered a deadly avalanche.

One of those was from Utah.

READ: Skier confirmed dead, body recovered from Park City backcountry avalanche

The danger and risk going into the weekend is high for the Cache County area because of the storm.

“There are hundreds and thousands of slopes that are ready to avalanche right now," Weed said.

The current snow conditions are ones Weed said he's never seen before: a widespread weak layer of snow on the bottom being buried by fresh powder.

"It’s deceiving to people that are even experienced," he said.

For this weekend, Weed said it's not even about being outside with the right equipment — it's about completely avoiding the backcountry.

READ: Little Cottonwood Canyon closed temporarily for avalanche control

Weed compared his warning to watching a train approach people on a train track.

"It’s like standing there and yelling at the top of our lungs saying, 'Look out, watch out,'” he said.

It's a warning that, no matter how good the powder looks, Weed hopes you'll hear.

“It’s not getting safer right now — it’s getting more dangerous," he said.

Forecasters anticipate the weakened snow conditions to persist for the remained of Utah's winter season for 2021.