Utah Avalanche Center in Logan


 Wasatch-Cache National Forest  In partnership with:  Utah State Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and Utah State University College of Natural Resources.


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Logan area Avalanche advisory

December 30, 2006

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Saturday December 30th, and its 7:15 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from EK.

Current Conditions:

A few inches of nice snow from mid-week sure improved conditions in the backcountry, and yesterday we found good turning and soft, yet supportable "go anywhere" riding conditions.  Winds damaged some exposed northerly facing slopes, but I found nice smooth, silky, if a bit shallow powder on most of the slopes I examined.  Yesterday's sunshine dampened the surface snow on due south facing slopes, and I expect we'll see a breakable crust today.   I'm currently reading 25 degrees at the 9500' Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak, and there's a 20 mph north wind.  There are 45 inches of total snow containing 12.5 inches of water equivalent at the Tony Grove Snotel, which is 92% of average.  This compares favorably with the 65% of average at the Ben Lomond Peak Snotel,  where there are only 28 inches of total snow.

Avalanche Conditions:

With a variety of buried crusts and weak layers, but in most cases lacking a substantial slab, the complex snowpack is currently stable on most slopes in the region.  The exceptions are pockety wind slabs, which formed early last week on top of a crust capped by a thin weak layer composed of small sugary grains. Wednesday's shot of powder hid these slabs. The existence of a lingering instability is proven by continued triggered activity.   Backcountry snowmobilers in the Tony Grove Area unintentionally triggered smallish hard wind slabs, averaging around a foot deep, on easterly facing slopes both yesterday and on Thursday .  Yesterday evening, I noticed that during the day somebody triggered a ~40' wide wind slab on a steep face under the cliffs on the East Face of Naomi Peak (pictures).  On Thursday a snowmobiler triggered a similar, ~60' wide avalanche on an east-southeast facing slope above the White Pine Lake Trail (pictures).

Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE avalanche danger in the backcountry, with triggered wind slab avalanches possible on steep slopes.  Fresh drifts may be active on lee slopes near ridge-tops, but you also need to be wary of slopes with older, stiff deposits of wind-drifted snow, which are now obscured by a couple inches of powder.  You are most likely to encounter these on north through southeast facing slopes steeper than about 35 degrees and above around 8500' in elevation.  

Mountain Weather:

Currently under the influence of a ridge of high pressure, the weather for the weekend looks pretty mundane.  A small storm will affect mainly southern Utah Sunday night, and I expect we won't even see a snow flake, although there's a slight chance for an inch or so.  The next Pacific storm system is scheduled for late next week, but don't get your hopes up for a big event.  It's still pretty far out but the models are hinting that it'll be a splitting storm, similar to Wednesday's.

General Information:

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan will present the 3rd annual fundraiser on Friday, January 19th at the Bullen Center in downtown Logan.

For neat pictures of some of this season's avalanche activity visit our Images Page.

These advisories are updated on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings by about 7:00. I will issue an updated advisory Sunday morning.  Logan Area advisories are accessible through the new statewide toll-free avalanche information line at, 1-888-999-4019.

Please send backcountry observations to [email protected] or leave us a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry.  I'm a little starved for information from you these days.  Your observations are necessary, and the information you provide may save lives. 

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.