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Moab Winter Conditions Update 12/27/19

Greetings and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has been enjoying themselves with family and friends this holiday season. It looks like Santa delivered us 18″ of new snow in the La Sal’s and it’s still snowing!

Road Conditions.

The Utah Avalanche Center has reported that Grand County will not be plowing the Geyser Pass rd today. Travel conditions are currently hazardous, proceed with extreme caution. 

The UDOT webcams are showing snowy and slick road conditions in town and on the highways. With more snow expected, conditions could get worse. Here’s a photo of 191 South outside of Monticello at 11:35 AM.

191 South near Monticello

Here’s a photo in Moab at 01:19

Moab 

Storm Totals This Week.

The Utah Avalanche Center reported 12” of new snow in the La Sal’s during the Christmas storm. They have also received reports of 18” up high as well as 20″ of fresh in the Abajo’s. The December 26th storm dropped an additional 6″ of fresh last night in the La Sal’s according to the UAC. The storm total for the La Sal’s is 18″ in Gold Basin. Finally, we’ve got some new snow to play in. 

Colorado and Utah resorts also saw significant snowfall during the Christmas storm. Anywhere from 3” to 28” inches were reported for ski areas in the region. Here’s the snowfall from the last 6 days for resorts near Moab.

 

 

Silverton was the Colorado winner with 28″. Brian Head was the Utah winner with 23″. It’s really cool to see Brian Head get so much snow this year. They are above Park City in terms of Base Depth. Park City is currently sitting at 48″ base depth and Brian Head has 50″. They aren’t very far behind the Cottonwoods either. Resorts in Big Cottonwood canyon are sitting at 56″ for Solitude and 58″ for Brighton. The diverse systems of snowstorms across Utah and Colorado are keeping everyone on a level playing field so far.

Backcountry Skiing

I got out to the Squaw Creek trailhead on Christmas day to get some turns in. We found 6-7 inches down low gradually increasing to a foot or more at higher elevations. Is there a better Christmas present than skiing fresh powder? I can’t wait to see what the conditions will be like after this semi-sleeper storm.

Brooke Maushund skiing in the La Sal Mountains 12/25/19

The Utah Avalanche Center has released a report for updated avalanche danger conditions. Please check it out here. Be safe out there! 

The UAC also reported that the Abajo mountains received 20” of new snow and it was dumping around Monticello this morning. It might be cool to check out the old Blue Mountain Ski resort once the new snow settles down a bit.  

According to the UAC, There was a snowmobile triggered Avalanche in the Abajo’s yesterday. Be careful out there!

Snowboarding.

When the road gets plowed, it may be time to shuttle some road laps on the Geyser Pass Rd. Wearing a beacon and carrying a shovel and probe is advised, just in case. While the terrain is low angle and fairly safe, It’s never a bad idea to be prepared for the worst. It should be fun to slash through the aspens up there!

Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing

The Lower Utah Nordic Alliance groomed from the winter trailhead to Geyser Pass on December 26th but were not able to groom the upper loop quite yet. There is now 6+ inches on the nordic track and it has not been groomed. Please refer to the Utah Avalanche Center and Luna Moab for up to date grooming news. Have fun enjoying the new snow.

Snowshoeing should be great pretty much anywhere in the La Sal’s and the Abajo’s. The Squaw Creek trailhead filled in nicely and offers great views, pleasant Aspen groves, and a gentle hike with not too much elevation gain. Plus, it’s closer than Geyser Pass. The Abajo mountains should also be good to go for snowshoe exploration. Here’s a photo from Christmas Day, it should be way better up there now!

Squaw Creek Trail 12/25/19

Weather:

The next chance for precipitation will be Friday. Winter temperatures will persist down in town this week with highs in the 30’s and lows dropping into the low teens. Bundle up! Though I’m sure we all know the drill by now. Here’s the Moab Forecast. 

NOAA Weather Forecast for Moab

It looks a little wetter in the La Sal’s this week. There is a winter weather advisory in effect today into tonight. We have another chance of snow Friday-Saturday and then a chance of snow showers Sunday night into Monday. Highs will be in the 20’s and lows could drop to -1 on Saturday night. Here’s the forecast for the La Sal’s. 

NOAA Weather forecast for the La Sals

Mountain Biking:

With the adverse winter conditions we are currently experiencing, it’s safe to say trails are closed at this time  Please refer to the Poison Spider Conditions Page for up to date information. Make sure to keep checking the conditions page as the weather progresses. 

Rock Climbing/Canyoneering.

I was able to get out and run U-Turn canyon before the storm. It was cold, but very doable and desolate. It’s a great time to check out the parks as there is nobody in them! 

The sandstone is soaked. Do not climb on wet sandstone. Sandstone becomes incredibly weak when introduced to significant moisture. Climbing on it damages the rock irreversibly and threatens your own life. Cam’s slide out on wet sandstone. The rule of thumb is three days of direct sunshine after a significant moisture event. If the base of the route is muddy or moist, do not climb. The soil at the base of the route should be completely dry, it should kick up dust, and the layer below that dust should be dry as well. Please help preserve the world-class rock climbing by not ruining the stone when it’s wet.

Canyoneering should be ok as soon as the rock dries up, though it may take a while due to the new snow. Do not descend a canyon if there is moisture in the forecast, or if there is significant snow above the canyon you wish to descend due to flash flood risks. Make sure rock that bolts are in are dry for good measure or use natural anchors instead. 

Hiking:

With the trails empty, it’s an awesome time of year to visit some of the spectacular spots in the parks that are normally overrun by tourists. There are very few visitors to Moab right now and when the storm clears up it will be absolutely stunning. Bring a camera!

Shop Updates:

Sales Sales Sales! We are still offering a ton of different sales and deals in the shop. We have a buy 2 get one free deal on Sarongs, Bandanas, and Shemaghs. We are offering 25% off of new jackets and outerwear as well as a huge 40% off Pink Tag Sale. Our sales rack out front has also been packed to the brim with great 40% deals. We also have plenty of winter gear including Yak-Trax traction devices, gloves, hand warmers, and other cold-weather equipment to get you through this storm. Come check out all the sales and say hello! We are open Every Day from 8 AM to 9 PM.

Events This Week.

Open Ride, Roping Steers at Old Spanish Trail Arena. December 29th 8 AM to 9 PM 

 

Star Party At Dead Horse Point  Dead Horse Point Park Rangers for a night of stargazing. December 28th, 6:30 PM