Utah ended its second consecutive winter without any avalanche-related fatalities, due in part to a stable snowpack, avalanche forecasters said.
"It has been a good year," said Brad Meiklejohn of the Utah Avalanche Information Center. "It has been over two years since we had a fatality."The center aired its final tape-recorded telephone message on avalanche hazards Sunday. During the past season, the center received a record 62,500 calls for the recording, which provides information for back-country travelers from Logan to Provo. The previous record number of calls was 50,000.
Meiklejohn, who shares forecasting duties with two others at the center, said the weather pattern this winter was largely responsible for the safe season.
"This has been the most stable snowpack we have had for the past three or four years. We had a number of people taking short rides but no burials. Through the end of March, Alta had 500 inches of snowfall, and that is above the 44-year average of 483," he said.
This year there were no periods of extreme hazard, but the center issued warnings on nine days. During Christmas, warnings were issued six days in a row, Meiklejohn said.