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Look up! Avalanches don’t care if you’re hiking on a trail with no snow

UTAH — Dirt can be seen on trails as the snow recedes, previously inaccessible areas are starting to open up, and mud is everywhere; it must be Spring in Utah.

The outdoors might not feel wintery these days, but that doesn’t mean that avalanche season is over. Aside from Moab and Skyline, the Utah Avalanche Center has listed every other area across the state as having a high danger rating.

Wet avalanches are forecasted to continue to happen naturally and have far runs with considerable debris, according to the Salt Lake Area Forecast. The debris being carried is dangerous enough, but adding in the potential for 2-5 feet deep runs that are hundreds of feet wide and not even area hiking trails will be safe in many locations. With that in mind, the UAC is reminding everyone venturing out to look up and not just what is ahead.

The Uintas will likely see temperatures in the 50s and heavy winds reaching gusts up to 50 mph. The Uinta Forecast emphasizes the likelihood of large cornices breaking with the rising temperatures adding an additional layer of risk to any backcountry adventures.

Avalanches have been a particular problem for the Cottonwoods, with numerous all-day closures, interlodges, and more occurring over recent weeks. Due to avalanche hazards, Big Cottonwood Canyon was closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. These types of conditions are expected to continue as ski season starts to wind down.

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