LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – The Utah Avalance Center in Logan has issued an Avalanche Watch “because dangerous avalanche conditions are developing in the backcountry.”
As snow moves across Utah on Thursday, officials say heavy snow and drifting are causing the danger to rise.
An Avalanche Watch is issued when very dangerous avalanche conditions are expected in the next 24-48 hours. In most situations, an Avalanche Warning follows an Avalanche Watch.
There are currently five areas with considerable avalanche danger ratings, according to the UAC:
- Salt Lake
Skyline and Abajos are under a moderate danger rating while Moab has a low rating.
Whether you’re new to the world of winter sports or you’re a backcountry veteran praying for snow, it’s important to know the safety recommendations for the coming season, for the times they are a-changin’.
Travis Seeholzer, the operations manager at Beaver Mountain, says this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, patrons can expect changes to mountain functions and accessibility, the Herald Journal in Logan reported. According to Seeholzer, there will be a near 60% reduction of those allowed in the day lodge, and mountain patrons are encouraged to use their vehicles for changing, booting up and eating.
“This season, you treat your car like the lodge,” Seeholzer said. “The overriding goal is to just do everything we can to save our ski season.”
Seeholzer said food trucks, a rental tent and additional seating will be provided to help manage the changes. “Ghost lanes” will be incorporated to ensure social distancing measures while skiers and snowboards wait in line for the lift, and face coverings will be required.
As Alta Ski resort, located up Little Cottonwood Canyon, opens for their 83rd season, they have found themselves making adjustments to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by the state.
“While skiing is our passion, the COVID-19 pandemic requires changes to our winter operations for the health and well-being of our skiers, employees, and community,” as stated on the Alta COVID-19 information page.
How Alta plans to interlodge this winter is an operation that has needed adjusting in efforts to plan for social distancing when mother nature takes her unpredictable course.
What is an interlodge? Interlodge means everyone must stay inside a building with no outdoor travel until unsafe snow conditions can be mitigated.
Interlodge protects people from the avalanche control that is taking place outside. Alta Ski Area works alongside the Utah Department of Transportation, UDOT, to intentionally trigger avalanches to make the road and ski area safer for travel.
Find out how Alta is handling interlodging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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