La Sal Mountain Winter Condition Report
Photo above is of Mount Tukuhnikivatz, Tukno, and Noreiga’s face framed by rime encrusted aspen trees, La Sal Mountains, Utah.
Saturday, January 27th 2017 – DODGEBALL!
Today is the day! If you aren’t in the La Sal mountains skiing, snow shoeing, sledding snowboarding, or snowmobiling come down to the 5th Annual Moab Gear Trader Dodgeball Tournament – A BEACON fundraiser presented in partnership with Moab City Recreation! Action starts at 11:00. Entrance is a $3 donation, but if you can give more, it goes to a great organization that provides wonderful service to the children of this community. Also, you will be able to enjoy 10% of the entire store with proof of entrance. Offer is good for Saturday, Jan. 28th until 6 PM.
Geyser pass road was plowed this week by the Grand County Road Department and is narrow, but clear & snowpacked. Don’t be afraid to call and thank them for providing access to such a high elevation all winter long. Especially since we are at 173% of average for our snowpack! The Forest Service plans on using heavy(er) equipment to widen the road on Tuesday, so plan on the gate to be closed in the morning and continuing most of the day. Much of it is currently 1 lane, so passing this weekend will be difficult.
BE CAREFUL on the outer edge. It may look solid, but in many places the plow extends past the edge of the gravel roadbase. This results in a shelf of snow that cannot support your vehicle. We have pulled folks back up onto the road almost every day we have been up there. Vehicles have rolled all the way onto their side in years past. While chaining up to extract a truck Friday night, we explored the edge on foot. It is solid enough for person to stand on, but one would sink to their hips if they jumped. In some places it extends several feet into the plowed lane.
The massive amount of snow that has fallen this month has made it challenging to keep up the track buffed out. The track was packed on Wednesday into Gold basin and again on Friday. It’s a little rough and soft, but it is wide, and should be firm enough for a good skate skiing Saturday morning.
An uneven snow drift has made it impossible to get all the way to the end of the Gold Basin Road. LUNA’s crew and some perfectly timed volunteers were able to hand shovel the trouble spot last week, but it has drifted in again. LUNA is organizing a shoveling party Saturday morning and is meeting at the Geyser Pass Parking Lot at 9:30. Bring a shovel and your own transport to the area just past the Gold Basin Yurt.
The Bunny Hill is also groomed just past the parking lot. The bottom gradually tapers flat and is a safer alternative to the sledding hill below the parking lot that ends into the road. It is also perfect for beginners to practice their telemark or alpine turns.
Skiers returning from the back country reported “super” conditions. This huge snowpack is doing an excellent job of covering the many snags and deadfalls. For local avalanche advisories, as well as more back country reports and observations, as well as road, weather & grooming information head over the Utah Avalanche Center – Moab. ‘As usual, anything above treeline has been severely wind affected as you can see in these photos of snow pouring off of Mount Melentin and Haystack Mountain. Sheltered areas though are still excellent.
High pressure and mild temperatures are forecast until next Friday where there is a possibility of snow in the La Sal Mountains