LOGAN — An avalanche warning has been issued for the mountains near Logan and Bear Lake. It runs through Wednesday at 6 a.m.
Nikki Champion, an avalanche forecaster at the Utah Avalanche Center, said earlier storms from November and December did not bring a lot of snow. And that means the snowpack at the base of these mountains is very weak.
"And once we get a load of snow on top of that, in the form of new snow or wind-drifted snow, then we have that strong slab sitting over the top of that weak, sugary snow," Champion said.
The weather on Tuesday is also an issue.
"We got heavy snow over the evening and high winds. So, that just created widespread areas of unstable snow," Champion said.
1-5-2021: AVALANCHE WARNING— UAC Logan (@UAClogan) January 5, 2021
Heavy snow and drifting from strong westerly winds overnight overloaded slopes with widespread buried persistent weak layers. The avalanche danger is HIGH, and dangerous avalanche conditions exist at all elevations. pic.twitter.com/kbzLBJ842U
The biggest concern is for backcountry skiing.
"You can trigger that avalanche either at your feet or you could trigger it remotely," Champion said.
"Meaning you can trigger an avalanche while you're traveling on a ridgeline or you could trigger an avalanche up above you because the slope's really connected due to that weak, sugary snow."
Skiers are asked to stay off of, and out from under, slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
The Ogden and Salt Lake area mountains are also designated high avalanche danger areas because of the storm.