Jed Boal Reporting If you've headed up into the mountains the past few days, you know the snow is piling up. That's great news for playing in the snow, but avalanche danger is rising.
Avalanche danger is rising rapidly and will continue to rise as this wind and snow batter the mountains. The Utah Avalanche Center is urging people to avoid avalanche terrain.
Snow and wind have pummeled the Utah mountains for several days. Avalanche danger is rising on steep slopes with wind drifted snow. The wind is blowing from the south. That loads north facing slopes with drifted snow, likely to slide if a skier or snowmobiler triggers it. Resorts can close areas that are too dangerous. The backcountry does not close, people venture ahead at their own risk.
At the resorts, avalanche experts make the critical decisions with plenty of caution.
Dean Cardinale, Snowbird Snow Safety: "We'll have areas we do have open, and we'll monitor them constantly, make sure they're safe for skiers. Hopefully people will go to the resorts and stay out of the backcountry; we don't want any more accidents out there.”
Bruce Tremper, Utah Avalanche Center: "The thing that worries us most is that there are going to be a lot of people out this weekend who may not get the message that it's very dangerous."
Four people have already died in avalanches in Utah this season; that matches the average number for an entire winter. Wasatch Backcountry Rescue hopes this weekend is a safe one.
Just a reminder, be sure to always check the Avalanche Line before heading into the backcountry.