1ft+ of Snow Forecasted for Alta!

Aaron Rice | BackcountryBackcountry | WeatherWeather

NOAA.org and Wasatch Snow Forecast are calling for the first(sorta second) good storm of the season for Alta, UT! WSF is calling for “Total accumulations by Sunday should be 6-12+” above 7,000 feet“. Read the full report here. If you believe the NOAA point forecast, it is calling for 12-26″ by Sunday morning. I find that a bit hard to believe…

The snow has just begun to fall in LCC. The Alta cams are all down or not refreshing at this point in time. The Hidden Peak cam is totally socked in. The lower Snowbird cams sure look like a system is moving through.

Socked in Hidden Peak cam
Socked in Hidden Peak cam
Looks like the storm is coming in.
Looks like the storm is coming in.

The weather so far this season for Utah has been pretty grim. A couple very small storms. Alta is reporting a 6″ base prior to this system. Looking at the Alta’s Sunnyside cam the past few days they have been able to make some snow. Alta has said they are planning on opening on Friday November 21st. The long range forecast released by WSF looks good so lets hope we have some more natural snow to ski by then!


Avalanche Discussion:

For those of you that plan to ski the Wasatch backcountry, now is the most important time to pay attention to the snowpack. The early season storms are the ones that set up a poor snowpack structure for the whole season.

There were a couple waves of energy in early November that dropped some snow in the Wasatch. From reading the Utah Avalanche Center observations it looks like the only place that it has stuck around is on steep, North-facing slopes, above 9,500ft with more prevalence in upper LCC and BCC. The snow that is lingering is completely faceted and though sparce will likely become a concern as the season progresses.

Steep, North-facing slopes above 9,500 ft in upper LCC and BCC
Steep, North-facing slopes above 9,500 ft in upper LCC and BCC holding on to faceted snow. Photo: Mark White

Here is the most recent observation: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/observations/21924

And here is one from a few days ago with some good pictures of where the snow held on a turned to facets (read: areas of concern for upcoming storms):  http://utahavalanchecenter.org/observations/21919

Let hope this system performs well! 

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