LOCAL NEWS

New Snow Brings High Avalanche Danger Warning To Utah Mountains

Nov 29, 2019, 5:49 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2019, 6:55 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With all of this new snow, Utah mountain resorts are rejoicing and opening up for eager skiers and snowboarders. But after Thanksgiving Week storms dumped as much as three feet of heavy snow in the mountains, the Utah Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for the backcountry.

Officials with the Utah Avalanche Center said avalanche danger is high and urged people to stay away from steep terrain at high elevation and check the forecast before heading into the backcountry.

“We issued an avalanche warning starting yesterday,” said Nikki Champion, avalanche forecaster with the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.

That warning continued through Friday.

“So, expect avalanche danger to stay high,” she said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of human triggered avalanches. But, we’re also seeing natural avalanches in the backcountry as well as the resorts.”

One large avalanche was triggered by a backcountry skier Thursday along the Park City Ridgeline.

That’s why Cooper Long and Abaigeal Whiting headed to Brighton Resort for the day.

“I would say it’s pretty high risk,” Whiting said. “I would recommend staying on the resorts.”

The resorts monitor avalanche terrain and trigger slides to keep riders safe.

“It’s going to be fun,” Long said. “But it definitely could be a little bit spicy with some slides. We came out here knowing that it was going to be a big storm and just wanted to get some fun turns. But we knew we needed to stay on the resort.”

High elevation slopes have picked up several feet of snow, with wind gusts up to 70 mph.

“With all of that wind and snow comes increased instability,” Champion said. “Things are dangerous.”

Adding to the risk for avalanches, Champion said, was a weak layer of snow underneath all of the new snow, leftover from early-season snowfall in October and November.

“It sat there and it got sugary and weak,” she said. “Then, once you put a big load like all of this new snow and all of the wind on top of it, it just sets up the perfect recipe for avalanches.”

Last winter, four people died in avalanches in Utah following a couple of years with zero avalanche fatalities.

Utah lawmakers set aside the first week of December as Utah Avalanche Awareness Week and the Utah Avalanche Center will hold free events and classes focused on safety and awareness in the backcountry.

“Getting the gear. Getting the training. Getting out of harm’s way. Getting the big picture. Getting the forecast,” Champion said.

There’s more information about those classes at utahavalanchecenter.org. Anytime you plan to head into the backcountry on a snowmobile or skis, be sure to check the forecast with the Utah Avalanche Center.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The Utah Senate on March 1, 2024....

Lindsay Aerts

Final day of 2024 legislative session saw billions in funding and a move to ban pride flags

The final day of Utah’s 2024 legislature saw over 100 bills passed, involving funding for downtown, social media restrictions for minors, and a $29.4 billion budget.

5 hours ago

Cache County Clerk David Benson addresses a crowd regarding election law violations. (Mike Anderson...

Mike Anderson

Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations

Cache County Clerk David Benson answered questions from the media and local voters about findings of numerous election law violations in his office.

6 hours ago

Pair of handcuffs on a black bacthroom...

Alexander Campbell

Washington County man calls police on self, gets arrested for stolen firearms

A teenager is off the streets after calling in to St. George Police and giving them his approximate location Friday, leading to a guns-drawn arrest.

6 hours ago

Two victims in a Hit-and-run in Sugarhouse speak to KSL News on Friday. (Emma Benson, KSL News)...

Emma Benson

Sugarhouse hit and run victims speak out

Two Sugarhouse women are speaking out after they were involved in a hit-and-run.

8 hours ago

Toyota passenger car that was involved in a fatal crash on Friday. (Utah Highway Patrol)...

Alexander Campbell

South Jordan crash results in one fatality, closes I-15 on ramp

Interstate 15 is closed at 11400 South while Utah Highway Patrol investigates a fatal crash on Friday.

9 hours ago

SLCPD officers pulling the the man off the parking garage ledge. (The Salt Lake City Police Departm...

Alex Cabrero

Body cam video shows police officers save man’s life during mental health crisis

Many people who live or work in downtown Salt Lake City often have very normal days. 

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

New Snow Brings High Avalanche Danger Warning To Utah Mountains