Rat-a-tat-tat, hang on to your hat! There’s going to be some very wide spread and dangerous avalanche activity in the Wasatch Mountains today and this weekend.
One of my favorite snow stability comments comes from Bob Athey – “When it comes to snow, it all depends.” If there’s no loose snow to transport, then high winds are not necessarily that bad. Sometimes 30″ of new snow can be very stable. Shallow snowpacks are generally weak… but not always.
And then there are times like this where all of these elements come together and go in the opposite direction to create a VERY dangerous snowpack – high winds blowing lots of light density snow onto a weak, shallow snowpack with a variety of slick crusts buried in it. And lots of powder starved skiers/triggers.
Bruce Tremper of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center issued today’s advisory, which is noteworthy as it is only a few times per year (hopefully no more) that the danger jumps up this high. “Extreme” avalanche danger is very rare and may only happen once a year, if that, so to see this much red (High danger) over so many aspects and elevations says something about the conditions. Having forecast for the Wasatch Mountains for decades, Bruce’s assessments always seem very accurate, at least to me. If we get a ton of new snow, but it is stable, Bruce will give you the straight scoop. Conversely, if Bruce mentions wid-spread high-danger, I’d pay attention.
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Category: current conditions