Backcountry avalanche warning remains high in northern Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — Avalanche experts are warning snow enthusiasts of extremely dangerous backcountry conditions in northern Utah, where Christmas storms have created widespread snow instability.

Several close calls happened in the past couple days, with avalanches ensnaring experienced folks — dragging some for long rides through timber and burying one person up to the neck.

Storms overloaded the widespread, weak sugary-faceted snow, prompting officials at the Utah Avalanche Center to warn that people should completely avoid slopes greater than 30 degrees until the snow has a chance to stabilize.

Employees at the center documented at least five avalanches in the backcountry, including multiple movements of snow triggered by skiers. High risk areas include the east face of Reynolds Peak in Big Cottonwood Canyon

The center advises there are many areas where people can enjoy fresh powder in the mountains and not be exposed to avalanche danger. People can find great powder riding conditions on hundreds of miles of trails and roads, in big flat meadows and in lower angle terrain away from under steep hills. Ski resorts also do avalanche control and reduce the danger.

Additional information on avalanche conditions is available at

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Amy Joi O'Donoghue
Amy Joi O’Donoghue is a reporter for the Utah InDepth team at the Deseret News with decades of expertise in land and environmental issues.


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