Utah avalanche experts warn of back-country danger
SALT LAKE CITY — If you’ve got family coming into town that wants to head to Utah’s backcountry, avalanche officials advise against it.
A powerful winter storm with heavy snowfall and extensive drifting will overload slopes with buried persistent weak layers and cause the backcountry avalanche danger to rise rapidly during the day. Dangerous avalanche conditions already exist this morning on drifted upper and mid-elevation slopes, and the danger will rise to HIGH in many areas by afternoon. Large and long running natural and human triggered avalanches will become likely.
Due to extremely high winds and new snow the avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE on all aspects at upper elevations and MODERATE on all aspects at mid-elevations by the end of the day. Watch for and avoid any freshly formed wind drifts on all upper and mid-elevation slopes. There is also a MODERATE danger at mid-elevations and low elevations northwest-north-northeast-east because of a persistent weak layer buried 1-4′ deep.
The avalanche danger is LOW on low-elevation slopes facing west and southerly directions.
Any avalanche triggered within the wind-drifted snow has the potential to step down into deeper weak layers in the snowpack, creating a very large and dangerous avalanche.
Utah Avalanche Center officials advise back-country skiers to avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees for at least the next 24 hours, citing the possibility of snow slides.
Recent high winds and heavy snowfall have created these risk factors.
- Utah Avalanche Awareness Week is underway
- Avalanche at Snowbird caused by skier, no injuries
- Utah avalanche danger: What causes an avalanche?
Today’s Top Stories
- Herd of elk pushed away from I-80 and moved back into mountains
- Jordan High student killed in Sandy crosswalk by school bus
- Utah Senate passes transgender-related surgery ban for minors
- SLC restaurant “Manoli’s” nominated for James Beard Award
- Utah leading a lawsuit against new ESG rule affecting 401(k) plans
- Utah safety officials, NAACP, react to death of Tyre Nichols
- Two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery, here’s why
- Speeches, silence, during Pro-Life Utah memorial at the Capitol
- Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest
- Memphis releases video showing police stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death