LOCAL NEWS

Experts Warn Of High Avalanche Danger In All Utah Mountains

Mar 8, 2019, 6:11 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Avalanche danger remains high in all of Utah’s mountains today with even as more new snow piles up.

The Wasatch Mountains added as much as two feet of snow over the last couple of days with another foot falling today.

Avalanche forecasters alert skiers and snowmobilers to be patient and cautious in the back-country this weekend.

While it was raining in the valleys, the mountains this week picked up a foot and a half to two feet of snow.

With more fresh snow falling, we can expect another busy weekend for skiers and snowmobilers.

“Avalanche avoidance is always the ticket” said Craig Gordon, an avalanche forecaster with the US Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center. “But, we’re humans. We make mistakes.”

Back-country riders need proper gear and training, he said.

“If you’re heading out into the backcountry, you need to go out with experienced partners,” said Gordon. “You need to have at a basic minimum: avalanche shovels, beacons, probes. It’s got to be on our body. And, we’ve got a know how to use that gear.”

This weekend, Gordon said, back-country snowmobilers and skiers need to be patient and let the new snow settle.

“No area here in Utah is immune to avalanche problems right now,” he said.

Avoid steep, upper elevation, wind-drifted terrain.

“Our snow pack is finally starting to turn the corner in many areas,” said the avalanche forecaster. “Still though, there are some zones where the snow pack is suspect.”

Gordon says you can still ride low-angled slopes and enjoy the light, fluffy snow that is falling on top, now that the colder air has arrived.

“The problem is, it came in dense. It came in heavy,” he said. “Lots of wind drifts across the leeward side of the upper elevations and now we’re putting a light fluffy snow on top. This is the stuff that makes our license plates famous.”

As the weekend progresses, Gordon advises back-country skiers and snowmobilers to keep up with the avalanche advisories from the Utah Avalanche Center if you’re headed into the backcountry.

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Experts Warn Of High Avalanche Danger In All Utah Mountains