A special note from: Brett Kobernik: Avalanche Forecaster - Utah Avalanche Center
Subject: Avalanche Danger in the Fish Lake and Southern Skyline
I'm an avalanche forecaster with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center. As you probably know, we put out avalanche information for the Manti Skyline Region through a weekly avalanche advisory as well as other backcountry observations and avalanche reports. The official southern end of the region is around Manti Canyon and doesn't include the southern end of the Skyline or anything south of I-70 in the Fish Lake area. However, as you are probably also aware of, there is no doubt that there are serious avalanche concerns for winter users in those areas, especially folks using snowmobiles to access this terrain. The groomed trail that runs south out of Gooseberry has numerous steep slopes that regularly avalanche in close proximity. There are also numerous steep slopes that avalanche north of I-70 as well. We have come down to do accident investigations in two separate avalanche fatalities in your regions in recent years.
I recently was in Richfield giving a basic avalanche awareness talk and we spent the day with a handful of people on snowmobiles the following day in the Gooseberry area where we came across a couple of very dangerous avalanches that were triggered by snowmobilers that day.
Here are links to the avalanche reports:
The purpose for this email is to just make sure you are aware of the avalanche dangers in your regions. Unfortunately, we don't have the funding currently to expand our avalanche forecasting and outreach into your area. Hopefully in the future we will be able to. In the meantime, please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding avalanche safety. Continued communication among our organizations will no doubt benefit wintertime backcountry users.
Thanks for your time
Thanks for the heads up Brett – we greatly appreciate the latest information available.
We groomed Beaver Thursday night the 14th. There have been several inches of fresh snow added since last Friday night. We groomed to Kent’s Lake, Big Flat and all the way down to Puffer Lake trailhead. While at the trailhead we took down the huge pile the road crew piles up in front of the trail.
Snowmobiling should be great for all riders this weekend – Be safe.
With some recent snow storms the snow is 48" deep on top. Check out the latest Snow-Tel Information: Big Flat
City Creek Trailhead: 6" of snow on the level, 2-4" of packed snow on the trail for the first couple of miles up. UDOT is not plowing the road to the trailhead, so it's a slick drive the last three miles.
Puffer Lake Trailhead: Road is clear, snow is very deep.
Kent's Lake Trailhead: Road is clear. Snow is packed very tight for the first few miles do to heavy use. We took most of the bumps out and now it's good to go.
We groomed the entire Monroe Mountain trail on Monday evening February 11th from the Koosharem Trailhead to Big Lake, PST 44 and down to Monrovian Park. On top there is at least 12” of new snow since we groomed the trail Wednesday February 6th. I could only see a few trees that the ends are sticking out along the sides of the trail #44 but I would still keep my eyes open through that section of trail.
The conditions on Monroe Mountain are great for snowmobiling – get out there and enjoy the fresh snow!!
Koosharem Trailhead: no snow at the trail head and 3-4" of packed snow on the trail with roughly 30” on top.
Monrovian Park Trailhead: 5" of snow on the level, 4-6" of packed snow on the trail.
Check out the latest Snow-Tel Information: Squaw Springs or Box Creek
Fishlake to Gooseberry
We groomed this trail on Tuesday night February 12th. Up to 10” of new snow to report in some areas and once again we spent extra time working on snow drifts from Gooseberry all the way including Seven Mile Canyon.
From the top of Seven Mile Canyon to a mile or so south of the Mt Terrell Guard Station there’s only about a foot of snow. Once off the main trail the sagebrush and rocks are still exposed – once you’ve made it to the guard station there is plenty of snow and some great riding.
The warmth and sun has not been nice to the snow depth in many areas. There is pavement exposed on the Gooseberry side and a lot of bare area’s in Seven Mile Canyon – be careful..
Fishlake Trailhead: There is exposed pavement on the Fish Lake HWY 1500 ft from Seven Mile Canyon with only a few inches of snow at the trail head.
Gooseberry Trailhead: 6" of snow on the level, 8-10" of packed snow on the trail.
Check out the latest Snow-Tel information: Gooseberry Ranger Station or Fishlake
We have not yet groomed this section of trail, but expect to as soon as possible. We are hoping to have Sand Ledges opened up by the end of next week providing that the weather and a few other things work in our favor.
Highway 24 (Sand Ledges) Trailhead: 4" of snow on the level 2-3" of packed snow on the trail.
Utah Snowmobile Association