High avalanche danger continues in Northern Utah’s backcountry

High avalanche danger continues in Northern Utah’s backcountry (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - Avalanche warnings set to expire Tuesday were extended and several close calls were reported even with some experienced adventurers.

Heeding the avalanche warnings, Kate Shepherd from Riverton was one of the many still enjoying the beauty Dog Trail had to offer but still being safe, “This trail is relatively low no matter what the conditions are so it's a good one to go when it's a high-risk day,” she said. The booming sounds of avalanche control brought her some peace of mind as she was out snowshoeing the day after Christmas, “You could hear lots of avalanche control going on though. It's a nice sound because you now that it's keeping people safe,” she said.

For others, it keeps them aware of the danger. “We heard all the explosions all over the place. It's not necessarily comfort, but there's a level of awareness you got to have for sure,” said Anna Wilson and Chaz Prymek who are visiting from Missouri.

The week of Christmas brings many people to Utah mountains. “We want to get out and enjoy the greatest snow on earth,” said Craig Gordon an Avalanche Forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center. He said it’s best for people to stay away from the backcountry right now if possible. Several close calls happened in the past couple days with avalanches catching experienced people, dragging some for long rides and burying one person up to the neck, “You know when experienced backcountry riders and professionals are getting tricked that these are unusual backcountry avalanche conditions,” Gordon said.

Gordon said if you're headed into the backcountry in the next couple of days, “Avalanche avoidance that is the key. You also need to be prepared for your own self-rescue. That means wearing and knowing how to use a beacon, shovel, and a probe.”

So, new or experienced, everyone can enjoy Utah's beauty. “It was gorgeous blue skies, perfect temps,” said Shephard. “This was my first time doing a snowy mountain hike, I am a low land person yeah it was totally mind-blowing,” said Wilson.

For the latest avalanche forecast, you can head to www.utahavalanchecenter.org.

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