‘Exceedingly dangerous’ avalanche conditions

Dec 18, 2021, 12:42 PM | Updated: 1:07 pm
Dangerous avalanche in the Cardiff bowl above the town of Alta. Photo: Utah Avalanche Center...
Dangerous avalanche in the Cardiff bowl above the town of Alta. Photo: Utah Avalanche Center

Avalanche conditions were reportedly dangerous on Friday and ‘exceedingly dangerous’ in the backcountry on Saturday. Conditions in more residential areas were marked as moderate.

The Utah Avalanche Center keeps Utah up to date on conditions surrounding avalanches in the canyons and in areas with heavy snow. 

On Saturday, Dec. 18, the center published a statement on Facebook that described avalanche conditions as “exceedingly dangerous.”

They reported that skiers has triggered several large avalanches, ranging from 4 to 6 ft. deep, especially in the backcountry. The most recent reported avalanche, before the statement’s publication at around 12 p.m., had taken place in the Cardiff bowl above the town of Alta. 

Avalanche updates on Saturday

Saturday’s danger ratings regarded the following areas as having considerable avalanche danger. 

  • Logan
  • Ogden
  • Uintas
  • Salt Lake
  • Provo
  • Skyline
  • Moab

Avalanches resulted in a closure Provo Bridal Veil-Slide Canyon from Glen Canyon to Vivian Park. Terrain reportedly covered both sides of Highway 189. UDOT Avalanche expected the roads to be cleared by 1:00 p.m. on Dec. 19.

Dangerous avalanche buried backcountry skier

The reports on Saturday followed a dangerous avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon that was caught on video the day before. On Friday, a skier in the backcountry recorded video of two skiers coming down El Rollo (Meadow Chutes) in Silver Fork. The third skier down was caught, carried, and completely buried in an avalanche.

The skier sustained only minor injuries and no outside rescue was required. The skier was able to clear the snow for an airway. His skiing partner reached him in a matter of 10 minutes to help remove all the snow and set the skier free. 

The skiers were reportedly seasoned in backcountry skiing, aware of day’s avalanche forecast, and had all avalanche safety gear. The avalanche was the first the skier had seen in 20 years of backcountry skiing, said the Utah Avalanche Center’s incident report.

The group shared the video with the Utah Avalanche Center as a message to encourage caution for all skiers and snowboarders during the avalanche season.

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‘Exceedingly dangerous’ avalanche conditions