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Avalanche danger high as Utah awaits new snow, rain

Published February 24, 2012 10:43 pm

'Red' • Northern, central and eastern mountains all high-risk for snow slides.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Most of the state's backcountry mountain slopes were put under an avalanche warning going into the weekend in the wake of a snow slide that killed a Salt Lake City man in Summit County's Dutch Canyon.

The Utah Avalanche Center issued "red" or high risks for potentially deadly slides for the mountains stretching from Salt Lake City to Provo, as well as the western Uintas and the Manti-Skyline area. The exceptions to the high avalanche risk rating were Logan and Ogden, which rated "orange," or considerable risk grades.

On Thursday afternoon, 24-year-old snowboarder Timothy Robert Baker died when he was caught in an avalanche that occurred outside the boundaries of The Canyons resort, near the Ninety-Nine 90 Express lift. Friday morning, another avalanche was reported in the Monte Cristo area near the Rich-Weber county border. A snowmobiler escaped with a broken leg, authorities said.

The new avalanche danger advisories came as a fresh storm system, expected to bring rain and snow Saturday morning, move toward Utah. The unsettled weather, punctuated by 20-25 mph winds, was expected to last well into Saturday evening.

Southern Utahns were expected to avoid the precipitation, but still will see partly cloudy skies and stiff breezes this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

All that atmospheric churning was bringing in fresh air, too, prompting the Utah Division of Environmental Quality to issue "green," or satisfactory air quality ratings statewide.

Salt Lake City's high temperature Saturday was forecast for 46 degrees, one degree lower than the high expected on Friday; Ogden was pegged at 44 and 45 degrees, respectively; Provo 50 and 47; Logan 40 and 42; Wendover 46 an 47; Duchesne 45 and 39; Cedar City 54 and 51; St. George 64 and 63; and Moab 57 and 50 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com