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Weather | Snow | Utah

Conventional weather forecasts are the result of intensive processing of data from weather stations around the world.Credit: Carlos Munoz Yague/Look At Science/Science Photo Library DeepMind AI accurately forecasts weather — on a desktop computer (11/17/2023) Tagged: Machine Learning, Weather Forecasting, Artificial Intelligence – Novel & Beneficial Uses   |   The machine-learning model takes less than a minute to predict future weather worldwide more precisely than other approaches.
Interlodge at Alta Avalanches in Big & Little Cottonwood Canyon Early April 2023 (4/8/2023) Tagged: Avalanche Photos, Avalanche Awesomeness, Avalanche Control & Mitigation, Mud Flows, Debris Flows   |   During the last week of March and first week of April, Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons saw an epic snow cycle the likes of which have never been seen before. Little Cottonwood Canyon ("LCC") closed due to avalanche danger on Sunday April 2, 2023. The canyon generally did not open again until Saturday April 8. (There were two brief periods when the canyon was open to the public to downhill travel only, so that people who needed/wanted could leave. Otherwise, the general public was prohibited from going up or down the canyon during the period April 1-8.
Cover Photo - Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map (folded map) Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map, 4th Ed. (2/12/2023) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Resources, Maps   |   The Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map is a full-color paper map that compliments the website, Android app, and iOS app. The map includes the names of almost 1,000 backcountry locations in the Central Wasatch.
Temperature map of North America - Weather Nation on Twitter Winter Storm Elliott – December, 2022 (1/16/2023) Tagged: Record Cold, Blizzard, Bombogenesis, Winter Storm Elliott 2022   |   The United States was hit by historically cold and windy Winter weather with a rare mid-latitude mid-continent cyclone, one that would undergo a process of rapid intensification called Bombogenesis, or Bomb Cyclogenesis. The event was termed “Winter Storm Elliott.” This …
Cover Image - A History of Avalanche Mitigation in the Cottonwood Canyons A History of Avalanche Mitigation in the Cottonwood Canyons (5/24/2020) Tagged: Avalanche Control & Mitigation, History - Utah Skiing   |   Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon roads carve between steep mountains that are prone to avalanches in the winter. In fact, 57% of the 9-mile Little Cottonwood Canyon Road is in an avalanche runout zone. Still, recreationalists, residents, and canyon employees need to transport themselves up and down these canyons regularly and as safely as possible.
Two large avalanche crowns seen in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains after heavy snowfall in March, 2019. PHOTO: Scott DW Smith | LOCATION: Silverton, CO #Avalanche: In a world obsessed with social media, avalanche centers are relying more and more on the attention-grabbing platforms to better equip backcountry skiers (5/19/2020) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Awareness, Social Media in Avalanche Awareness & Forecasting   |   “Originally, we looked at social media very much as another way of disseminating the forecast,” said Ethan Greene, director of the CAIC. “We still do that, but have been using it more to engage people and try to get out information about current conditions as well as broader education out to people. It’s been a good way for people to ask questions, and we’ve done our best to address those questions.”
Cover - Avalanche Busters: A Historical Memoir of the Snowbird and Alta Ski Patrols Avalanche Busters: A Historical Memoir of the Snowbird and Alta Ski Patrols (4/28/2020) Tagged: History - Utah Skiing   |   This historical memoir gives the reader a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes view of the founding of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and discloses how the ski patrol worked on the avalanche-ridden mountain.
Cement Fill Avalanche on Hwy 550 - Featured Image Colorado Avalanches – Cement Fill Avalanche on Highway 550 (12/28/2019) Tagged: Colorado Avalanches March 2019, Video, Avalanche Awesomeness   |   Cement Fill Avalanche on Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton, Colorado on March 10, 2019. Stop-motion images from Silverton Avalanche School video on Facebook.
Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Featured Image Avalanche Problems Toolbox (12/24/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Education, Resources, Avalanche Problems   |   Use the nine "Avalanche Problems" to understand avalanche types. Learn to approach the mountain with an eye toward current avalanche conditions and avalanche problems to assist in making wise terrain choices.
Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Guide & Map (2019) (12/16/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Resources, Maps   |  

The Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map is a three-dimensional map that, along with the companion Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Guide, provides a wealth of backcountry information. Cottonwood Canyons Weather Dashboard provides all you need to know weather-wise for the Cottonwood Canyons.

Utah Avalanche Center Utah Avalanche Center – Tutorials (11/8/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Education, Resources, Avalanche Safety   |   Published by the Utah Avalanche Center. The best way to learn about avalanches and how to avoid them is to take an avalanche class from a qualified instructor. You can get a good introduction to understanding avalanches by studying avalanche articles, books, and videos. It's also important to keep your skills current. These resources provide a great way to brush up on skills and keep up with the latest technology, theory, and professional practice.
Little Cottonwood Canyon Weather & Avalanche Information Little Cottonwood Canyon Weather & Avalanche Information (11/7/2019) Tagged: Resources, Daily Forecasts, Daily Updates, Road Conditions, Snow Conditions, Weather Info, Backcountry Travel & Safety   |  

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a unique environment. Weather is often intense during the Winter and avalanches are of course a major concern. This page provides a variety of information sources so that you can be well informed of current conditions in the canyon. Included are resources from Alta & Snowbird, National Weather Service, Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Dept. of Transportation & Unified Police Greater Salt Lake.

Record Cold In Utah, Oct. 30, 2019 (10/30/2019) Tagged: Weather Phenomena   |   Damn, it got butt cold in Utah last night… – Peter Sinks -44.5°F @ 2:30 a.m. Oct. 30, 2019 (Near Logan, UT) ❄️ – Mt. Baldy, Alta, UT -11°F @ 11:00 p.m. Oct. 29, 2019 – Osguthorpe Barn, Park City, …
Summer Avalanches in Little Cottonwood Canyon (8/19/2019) Tagged: Weather Phenomena, Mud Flows, Debris Flows, Avalanche Photos, Video   |  

Articles published by The Salt Lake Tribune.
Video by Utah Dept. of Transportation & KSL-TV

Violent storms in the Salt Lake and Utah Counties area resulted in flooding and mud & rock slides in several canyons and nearby run-off zones. Here are a few articles from The Salt Lake Tribune chronicling the aftermath.

Feathered ice crystals. Photo by Kirill Pershin on Unsplash. Snow, Graupel, Hail, Sleet & Freezing Rain (7/11/2019) Tagged: Precipitation Types, Snow Science   |  

Article by WWD Webmaster
July 11, 2019

Graupel is supercooled water droplets coming into contact with falling snow, heavily rimed new snow. Hail is solid balls or lumps of ice. Sleet is smaller ice pellets, in between snow and freezing rain.

2018-19 Snow Season at Mid-Gad 2018-19 Snow Season at Mid-Gad (5/22/2019) Tagged: Snow Study, Snow Conditions   |   Records? I think so. Granted I'm comparing Mid-Gad snow study plot to the Alta Guard station study plot, so it's not exact. But, if you look at season totals at Alta Guard you will see that there are only 2 seasons where we've had 700" or more at Alta Guard. In my book 711 inches at Mid-Gad is fairly rare. Record-worthy to be sure. (Ya, but then there was the 2022-23 season which blew the doors off of 2018-19!)
Glide Avalanches Glide Avalanches (4/6/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Photos, Avalanche Awesomeness, Avalanche Types   |  

Glide avalanche
Avalanche Encyclopedia, Avalanche.org

“Glide occurs when the entire snowpack slowly slides as a unit on the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow and pose a hazard that is very difficult to forecast.”

Snow Sense Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard (4/2/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Hazard Forecasting, Avalanche Safety   |  

Published by Alaska Mountain Safety Center, March 24, 2017
By Jill Fredston & Doug Fesler

"A new edition of a best-selling classic. Snow Sense is North America's leading primer on how to avoid getting caught in an avalanche. Written by the experts, Snow Sense focuses on the critical terrain, snowpack, weather, and human factors that allow avalanche accidents to happen. A must-have for anyone who works or plays in avalanche country."

Allen & Mike's Avalanche Book Allen & Mike’s Avalanche Book (4/2/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Safety   |  

Published by Globe Pequot Press / Falcon Guides, December, 2012
By Mike Clelland and Allen O'Bannon

"With more and more people heading into the winter backcountry on skis, snowshoes, and snowmobiles, avalanche safety is of paramount importance. Allen & Mike's Really Cool Avalanche Safety Book distills the sometimes overly technical information of snow science into a user-friendly format with helpful illustrations and easy-to-understand text."

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 (4/1/2019) Tagged: Canyon Traffic, Overcrowding   |  

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.'”

Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, 3rd Edition (3/20/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Safety, Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Education   |  

“In Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, 3rd Edition, acclaimed snow and avalanche expert Bruce Tremper provides easy-to-understand avalanche safety tips and skills, including the latest snow research and techniques for evaluating snowpack, as well how to rescue companions in the event of an avalanche.“

Avalanche Essentials: A Step-by-Step System for Safety and Survival. Avalanche Essentials: A Step-by-Step System for Safety and Survival (3/20/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Education, Educational, Avalanche Safety   |  

“Avalanche Essentials is for everyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of avalanche awareness, focusing on systems and checklists, step-by-step procedures, decision-making aids, visual terrain and weather cues, rescue techniques, gear, and more.”

The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW) The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW) (3/19/2019) Tagged: Wasatch 100, Avalanche Photos, Adventure, Backcountry Travels, Just Plain Fun   |  

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.

TAS & Wyssen Avalanche Hazard Prevention Systems TAS & Wyssen Avalanche Hazard Prevention Systems (3/17/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Control & Mitigation, Resources   |  

Avalanche Control Systems from TAS and Wyssen.

Colorado Avalanches: Hwy 550, Highlands Ridge & Winter Storm Ulmer – March, 2019 (3/16/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Photos, Video, Weather Phenomena, Avalanche Awesomeness, Colorado Avalanches March 2019, Avalanche Control & Mitigation, Bombogenesis   |   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.
16. A Forgotten Wilderness: Nature’s Hidden Relationships in West Central Idaho. A Forgotten Wilderness: Nature’s Hidden Relationships in West Central Idaho (3/15/2019) Tagged: Climate, Geography, Photographs   |  

“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.’"

Field Guide to Snow Crystals Field Guide to Snow Crystals (3/15/2019) Tagged: Snow Science   |  

Field Guide to Snow Crystals is the classic original book on the subject of snow crystals. It is a collectors item with copies on Amazon ranging from $45 to $290 for a new hardcover copy. While it may be outdated in terms of the level of understanding of snow crystals, it is nonetheless one of the early and most well respected guides on the subject.

Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth (3/15/2019) Tagged: Snow Science, Avalanche Control & Mitigation, Educational, Meteorology, Weather Forecasting, Climatology   |  

“Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth is the ultimate meteorological guide for powder hounds, snow geeks, and weather enthusiasts.”

Utah Avalanche Center & USDA Forest Service Alta Snowfall by Month (3/14/2019) Tagged: Classics, Detailed Observation, History - WSO   |   Chart and a table that contains historical snowfall data by month as recorded at the Alta Guard station which is now part of the UDOT avalanche snow safety operation. This historical data was first compiled by Montgomery Atwater who was the first snow ranger in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Skiing in Utah: A History Skiing in Utah: A History (3/14/2019) Tagged: Classics, History - WSO   |  

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.”

Avalanche Dog Heroes Avalanche Dog Heroes: Piper and Friends Learn to Search the Snow (3/9/2019) Tagged: Avalanche Education, Educational, Children's Books   |  

"Follow Piper the border collie and her canine classmates through a season of avalanche rescue training. As they learn the skills they need to become snow rescue dogs, you'll learn about the work these amazing canines do and about avalanche safety."

Avalanche Basics Avalanche Basics from Avalanche.org (3/8/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, Avalanche Education   |  

Avalanche.org connects the public to avalanche information and education in the United States. Avalanche.org is a partnership between the American Avalanche Association (A3) and the US Forest Service National Avalanche Center (NAC). The site consolidates data from professional forecast centers to provide real-time avalanche information.

Mt. Nebo Field Study – March 5, 2019. Mt. Nebo Field Study – March 5, 2019 (3/7/2019) Tagged: Video, Snow Study, Detailed Observation, Avalanche Hazard Forecasting   |  

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.

Wasatch Weather Weenies – Mountain Meteorology and Snow Snobbery Blog Wasatch Weather Weenies – Mountain Meteorology and Snow Snobbery Blog (3/1/2019) Tagged: Keen Insight, Detailed Observation, Weather Info   |  

The Wasatch Weather Weenies discuss the weather and climate of the Wasatch Front and Mountains, western United States, and beyond.

Professor Powder has also written Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, “the ultimate meteorological guide for powder hounds, snow geeks, and weather enthusiasts.”

Know Before You Go – Avalanche Education Know Before You Go – Avalanche Education (3/1/2019) Tagged: Backcountry Travel & Safety, 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.

The Real Super Tour, Photo: Kennan Harvey The Real Super Tour (2/10/2019) Tagged: Classics, Adventure   |  

"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."

I AM Dangerous (Danger, dangerous, stupid: Not all the same) I AM Dangerous (Danger, dangerous, stupid: Not all the same) (2/10/2019) Tagged: Adventure, Humanity, Keen Insight   |  

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.”

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 (2/10/2019) Tagged: Humanity, 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.”

Your Heart and Brain Are Working Against You in Avalanche Terrain. Photo: Bruno Long Your Heart and Brain Are Working Against You in Avalanche Terrain (2/10/2019) Tagged: Human Factors (Psychology)   |  

"I'm really beating up on the brain," Boilen says. "But, hopefully, in the spirit of empowering ourselves to make better decisions."