Avalanche danger ‘likely’ in backcountry

Local News

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The Cottonwood Canyons have received nearly 2 feet of snow in the last 24 hours — and avalanche danger is rising, too.

“We’re looking at an unsettled pattern in the next couple of days,” said Craig Gordon, with Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.

“You gotta remember: in the spring, back country avalanche conditions change very rapidly,” said Gordon.

Over this last winter, five Utahns died in avalanches.

“Any avalanche accident is super super tragic,” said Gordon.

“Here in Utah, there are 13 children that don’t have a father this year because of avalanche accidents,” added Gordon.

Gordon says this winter — after two winters in Utah without any avalanche deaths — has had more snow than in years past.

But also, he says, the snow started early.

“Everything was built on a weak foundation,” said Gordon.

“The whole state got in on the action, and in many parts of the state, had developed weak, sugary snow near the ground, early in the season, they got walloped by big storms. That one two combo is a dangerous combination in our mountains,” said Gordon.

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