OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Despite the improved weather, avalanche danger still exists, experts say

Jan 15, 2024, 6:26 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm

LOGAN — While the weekend storm has moved out of the state, avalanche danger is still high in northern Utah.

With clear skies, avalanche experts are concerned that outdoor enthusiasts could be drawn to dangerous slopes in the mountains.

In Logan Canyon on Monday, Brandon Bales and Daren Peterson were among many people seen heading into the backcountry. The two came prepared with items such as radios, probes, shovels, beacons and even airbags.

“Everybody has beacons and we’ve got probes and shovels,” Peterson said.

Still, being prepared is a message that can’t be stressed enough.

It’s important that if you’re going to head into areas where avalanches are a possibility that you check the forecast and bring proper equipment, according to Toby Weed, a forecaster with the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.

Weed says some mountains have a thick, heavy slab on top of a weak layer of snow from early December.

“So when we see these conditions where we’re getting a lot of collapsing or one thing in the backcountry,” he said. “That means that avalanches could be triggered remotely. And that’s really scary.”

(Mike Anderson, KSL TV) FILE - (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Stay aware of your surroundings

As such, Weed is asking people to stay aware of what’s around them, and stay clear of slopes that are steeper than 30 degrees.

“Conditions are so fun that people, they lose perspective of the fact that it’s actually still really dangerous,” Weed said. “So as the danger is gradually diminishing, it lures people into avalanche terrain.”

Everyone who heads into the backcountry, should go as prepared as Bales and Peterson were Monday.

“You’re not just helping yourself out,” Bales said. “If we come upon a group, you know, and they got somebody buried, we can find them with our the gear that we have.”

 

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Despite the improved weather, avalanche danger still exists, experts say