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"Tricky and Dangerous" Conditions in the Backcountry

It was a wild day in the backcounty yesterday according to avalanche forcasters. Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Drew Hardesty said he counted 31 human-triggered avalanches in the backcounty Thursday. Four people were caught and carried in slides, but there was only one injury reported, a hurt knee.  On Friday morning, two human-triggered slides were reported before 8am.


Hardesty says the new snow created slides that were eight to 16 inches deep, and some were 200 to 250 feet wide.  He also noted that dangerous conditions still exist. "Tricky and dangerous out there.  It really has accident written all over it with clear sunny skies and still excellent skiing and riding conditions, but that structure is still unmanageable and dangerous.  Again,  folks should exercise caution in steep terrain today.”


Hardesty said there were a couple of factors involved in the high number of avalanches. “It's a number of things. I would say that there's, you know with the ski areas closed there's more and more people heading out in the Backcountry, and particularly with really excellent skiing and riding conditions.  But I feel that the culture that we've cultivated in the Wasatch in the last 20 years has been one of sharing of information and relaying what people are finding and even if they have close calls and accidents.  And I think that's a favorable thing. We've sort of cultivated this openness and transparence within our community and I'm grateful for that.”


The Utah Avalanche Center will stop issuing daily reports Sunday.  Hardesty said the center will just do intermittent updates with no danger ratings. For more information, you can go to the website, utahavalanchecenter.org.