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Avalanche Danger for Holiday Weekend

Avalanche Danger for Holiday Weekend

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Dina Freedman Reporting Earlier this week we saw impressive video from an avalanche near Brighton. With President's Day weekend here, is the avalanche danger still an issue?

Right now the avalanche danger is listed as considerable. This means that human- and natural-triggered avalanches are likely.

Avalanches take the lives of people enjoying our Utah snow every year, but we're hoping that by letting you know ahead of time what the danger is you can stay safe.

Bruce Tremper, Utah Avalanche Center: "We've seen hundreds of avalanches along the Wasatch range and dozens of human-triggered avalanches."

We've had over 30 inches of snow in the past seven days in the high elevations. That is great for skiing but also adds to the unstable snowpack.

Jim Collinson, Assistant Director Snow Safety, Snowbird: "The back country is reaching a critical mass; it's going to be very unpredictable. We only got six inches of snow, but the wind has blown it around, so in some places there's two or three feet of snow, and that's a lot of new stress on the old weak snowpack."

With sunshine and rapid warming in the forecast this weekend, if you're avalanche skills are not top-notch, your best choice of action is to stay in the ski area boundaries.

Last night, winds were gusting to 100 mph on some of the higher peaks, and when the sunshine hits this weekend it will continue to make prime conditions for new slides.

Bruce Tremper, Utah Avalanche Center: "It seems solid, but until somebody pulls the rug out from underneath you, you're off for the ride of your life, so it's very, very dangerous conditions. It's breaking deep, one to two feet deep, wide. It's usually breaking up above you, so it makes it especially dangerous."

Jim Collinson, Assistant Director Snow Safety, Snowbird: "Our greatest tool is the skier compaction, from the thousands of skiers that visit us. They pack down the snow and help make it stable."

The snow is great to ski on, but if you don't want to press your luck, just stay inside the ski area this holiday weekend.

For more information visit the links to the right.

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