Francisco Kjolseth - The Salt Lake Tribune - The ski slopes draw a steady stream to Big Cottonwood Canyon during a recent weekend morning.

Traffic in Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons Getting Worse

The Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 2019
By Brian Maffly

“On powder days, Rafferty and nearly every other Alta and Snowbird skier not staying on the mountain, spent more time in cars than on the skis….’While the ski areas have adjusted to accommodate growth on their mountains,’ Maughan said, ‘the road and parking capacities are the same as they were 15 years ago.’”

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The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW)

The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW)

Bob Athey is the Wizard of the Wasatch. His website is “Snow and avalanche conditions in the Wasatch range including photos, diagrams, snow pit graphs and trip reports in winter. Images of wildflowers, goats and other wildlife, changing season leaves, and trip reports from hikes and runs in the summer and fall.”

Spend some time poking around his site. You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts. Here too is a collection of articles and videos featuring the WoW.

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Colorado Avalanches: Hwy 550, Highlands Ridge & Winter Storm Ulmer – March, 2019

Colorado was the lucky recipient of historic snow falls early in March, 2019. Here is a collection of some of the news stories and video about the storm and some of the resulting avalanches. This article focuses on the overall storm, eventually labeled as Winter Storm Ulmer, and avalanches along U.S. Highway 550 plus the Highlands Ridge avalanche.

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16. A Forgotten Wilderness: Nature’s Hidden Relationships in West Central Idaho.

A Forgotten Wilderness: Nature’s Hidden Relationships in West Central Idaho

“Idaho author Matthew Deren discovered a hidden niche from the ground up in West Central Idaho as he researched a book about nature’s hidden relationships in the temperate forests between McCall and Riggins.”

“‘I noticed a convergence zone in West Central Idaho that no one had really discovered before,’ Deren says. ‘It’s a point where the south meets the north, the dry meets the wet, and where civilization meets the wild. It’s the largest temperate block of wilderness in North America.’”

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Skiing in Utah: A History

Skiing in Utah: A History

Skiing in Utah: A History is a study of skiing in Utah from early days when it was essentially a form of transportation to the late 1970’s and the advent of ski resorts as embodied by Snowbird. The book covers various topics including ski jumping, avalanche prediction and control. It deals with specific ski areas including Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Park City and Snowbird. “In many ways the ski history of Park City and Snowbird illustrates the sport’s transition from avocation to industry.”

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Mt. Nebo Field Study – March 5, 2019.

Mt. Nebo Field Study – March 5, 2019

This is just a sample of the work that goes into assessing snow stability. Utah Avalanche Center staff do this work daily through out the Winter along the Wasatch Mountains and in other regions of Utah. this observation is remarkable in that it’s a deep snow study pit with a distinct fracture occurring during testing. This will be unfamiliar for those who are not accustomed to skiing in hazardous backcountry environments.

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Know Before You Go – Avalanche Education

Know Before You Go – Avalanche Education

Know Before You Go is a free avalanche awareness program. Not much science, no warnings to stay out of the mountains, no formulas to memorize. In 1 hour, you will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and how you can have fun in the mountains and avoid avalanches. The Know Before You Go program is non-profit and depends on grants and donations. KBYG is a program of the Utah Avalanche Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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The Real Super Tour, Photo: Kennan Harvey

The Real Super Tour

“A hard climbing philosopher, Josh is also a believer. “There’s nothing more pure and simple,” he states, “than launching into a big climb in the middle of winter. No other people, no mechanical sounds, no artificial colors; just rock and snow and breathing and the immensity of the mountains. A horizontal length of testy and mercurial ridgeline to be navigated before we can have some hot food and some rest. Doesn’t get much better than that.” It occurred to us that when you don’t have any protection, both ends of the rope are sharp, both partners are equal.”

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I AM Dangerous (Danger, dangerous, stupid: Not all the same)

I AM Dangerous (Danger, dangerous, stupid: Not all the same)

Molly Absolon, writing for the Mountainside column of the Jackson Hole News & Guide, writes about being dangerous. She writes of her reaction to an essay that Drew Hardesty wrote titled “I AM Dangerous.” Drew Hardesty is a forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center in the winter and a Grand Teton National Park climbing ranger in the summer. Drew had recently sent her an essay he’d written about danger. “The essay went on to explore the notion of danger, and, in the end, Drew embraced the idea that we are dangerous if we spend our lives in the mountains engaging in potentially risky behavior.”

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13 Feet Deep: Lessons Learned from A Remarkable Companion Avalanche Rescue. Photo: Tim Banfield

13 Feet Deep: Lessons Learned from A Remarkable Companion Avalanche Rescue

“‘Little did I know what was coming,’ writes Tim Banfield in this eye-opening and brutally honest account of he and a partner’s successful rescue of a friend that was buried 13 feet deep in an avalanche. Banfield recounts this tale for one reason: to share what he learned from a truly remarkable avalanche rescue in the hope that this information can help save lives.”

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