"With temperature inversions, people who get up into the mountains in the winter get out of the murk and into the sunshine."
Before traveling to the Wasatch ranges snowshoers should check the daily avalanche advisories on www.ava
lanche.org. The majority of avalanches in which people are buried are triggered by the persons themselves.
When there is a long period without storms there is higher avalanche hazard. The new snow on top doesn't take much to slide off, according to Willden
"It doesn't take a really steep slope to create an avalanche. After about 30 de-grees, snow can slide. Most avalanches occur on 30- to 50- degree slopes," said Willden. "On avalanche prone trails you should be aware of what's above you."
Although there are few places to cross country ski in the county, there are a variety of popular snowshoeing trails.
"Mueller Park is popular, has easy access, is close to home and is not prone to avalanche slides," said Willden.
"Farmington Canyon Road is also another popular location." Willden said "The south slopes don't get as many slides as the north side. Do not travel below slopes on the north side of the mountain except under stable avalanche conditions."
For beginning snowshoers Willden also suggests local parks, valley floors and the foothills along the Bonneville shoreline.
Generally mountains in Davis County are safer to snowshoe than locations near ski resorts, according to Willden.
Willden tells snowshoers to do their homework, "Learn about slope angle. Aspect, or slopes facing north or northeast are more dangerous. Watch for cornice (where snow accumulates and builds out until an overhang is formed.) When the wind blows it creates a rift that can break and trigger a avalanche."
In general snowshoes made for women are lighter and smaller than snowshoes made for men. The rule of thumb is, the larger the person the larger the snowshoes, according to local sports and recreation department sales associate.
"In the past three years snowshoe sales have doubled," said the associate. "I believe it is because health consciousness has raised and people are getting more into winter sports."
Individuals are advised to come prepared with the appropriate supplies and equipment.
Ten essentials when heading out are a map, a compass, a lot of water, fire starter and matches, first aid kit, army knife or multi-purpose tool, flashlight and extra batteries.