For the first time in since 1991 no one was killed in an avalanche in Utah this winter. FOX13 Salt Lake City reports since 1991 there has been an average of four people killed in Utah avalanches per winter. Utah Avalanche Center spokesperson Craig Gordon had this to say about the 2016/2017 season:
“The main mission for the Utah Avalanche Center is to keep people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth, rather than buried beneath it. So we do that through outreach, through education, through our forecasts, of course with our great media partners. We’re super stoked. Of course, we’re looking forward already to next season when we can gear it all back up again.”
Technical advances in ski and riding gear allowed more people to enjoy backcountry powder in the early 1990s but it also led to an increase fatal snow slides. In 2017, advances in avalanche forecasting from organizations like UAC and availability of those forecasts online have made it easier for those traveling in the backcountry to make informed decisions. The UAC will release their final avalanche report for the season on Easter Sunday.
The UAC issued this statement about the rest of the season:
“For the rest of the month, we’ll issue Friday updates for the central Wasatch Mountains and updates throughout April anytime there is [measurable] snowfall. Avalanches are still possible as long as the mountains are covered in snow, so make sure to pay attention to warning signs like recent avalanches, particularly if they’re occurring on the same types of slopes you plan to ride on. Check out our advisory pages for how to spot warning signs and be your own avalanche forecaster. Please check and submit the Observations if you are getting out – that is an especially valuable tool in the spring.”
Here’s a little video about how the good folks at The Utah Avalanche Center make their forecasts, if you ride utah’s mountains and can spare some moola Please donate: