Forecasters warn of elevated avalanche risk with more storm chances on horizon

Feb 24, 2023, 10:07 AM | Updated: 10:34 am

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Avalanche danger was “considerable” Thursday from Logan to Salt Lake to the southern mountains, and forecasters said additional chances for snow were likely to keep the risk elevated over the next few days.

“Statewide, we’re at a considerable avalanche danger in the backcountry,” said Craig Gordon, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center. “On a scale of 1 to 5, that’s a level 3. That means that human-triggered avalanches are likely.”

According to the center, three slides were triggered at lower elevations on Wednesday and Gordon urged people recreating in the foothills to also check the forecast.

“If we’re headed out for a trail run or a dog walk with more snow coming in, we definitely want to be armed with the latest avalanche forecast for the zone that we plan to recreate in,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy this amazing snow, but we definitely want to pump the brakes a little bit and tone down our objectives.”

Gordon urged people particularly to steer clear of wind-affected areas, which were more susceptible to avalanches.

“The good news is this is a very obvious avalanche problem to deal with — you lose the wind, you lose the problem,” Gordon said. “You can get in nice, sheltered terrain where the wind hasn’t affected or ‘loaded’ any of the leeward slopes and generally you’re good to go.”

Those in Big Cottonwood Canyon Thursday afternoon remarked about the incredible conditions they encountered.

“I went out for a little afternoon ski up on God’s Lawnmower and the Kessler Slabs and it was spectacular — as good as it gets,” said backcountry skier John Griffiths.

Backcountry skier John Griffiths. (KSL TV)

Griffiths said he always checked forecasts and made sure he was up-to-speed on conditions but found them to be inviting.

“Anecdotal, but I just skied two known avalanche paths and they skied wonderfully and the snow didn’t move,” Griffiths said.

Angie Cluff said she recently returned from Switzerland and the snow there didn’t compare to Utah’s.

“It’s just day-after-day — like, more and more inches of snow,” she said. “It’s a good time. It’s a great year. It’s an awesome year.”

Cluff said she checks forecasts as well, though she said she tends to stay away from the backcountry and stick to resorts.

Gordon acknowledged more people in the backcountry meant more potential for human-triggered avalanches and he urged everyone to take the proper equipment with them to the mountains and to study the latest forecasts.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A UDOT snowplow clearing the roads. (KSLTV)...
Andrew Adams

Another week, another storm, another expected messy commute

Plow drivers were expected to have their hands full at the start of another week Saturday, as another storm barrels toward the state.
24 hours ago
Skiers and snowboarders at the Snowbird resort. (KSLTV/Mark Less)...
Alex Cabrero

Skiers, snowboarders continue to enjoy extended ski season

For ski and snowboard lovers, it has been the kind of year-old-timers normally brag about.
24 hours ago
[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

Police: Two arrested for murder of 17-year-old during THC deal in Tooele

A Utah couple is in police custody for fatally shooting a 17-year-old during a sale of THC cartridges early Sunday morning.
24 hours ago
Responding fire crews getting ready to extinguish the fire. (Courtesy: Brerick Hullinger via Unifie...
Michael Houck

Garage fire damages structure in Herriman

A fire that started in a Herriman garage left visible damages on the outside and inside of a building Saturday morning. 
24 hours ago
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Eliza Pace

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces new leaders

Nine new leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were announced in the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.
24 hours ago
Houses under construction in Lehi on March 14. Most Utahns of color are more likely to own a home a...
Sydnee Gonzalez

Utah minority homeownership outpaces national averages, lags behind white homeownership

Most Utahns of color are more likely to own a home than individuals from similar ethnic and racial backgrounds in the country.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Forecasters warn of elevated avalanche risk with more storm chances on horizon