Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/



Avalanche advisory


Saturday, January 25, 2003

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To see cool photos of recent avalanche activity CLICK HERE (Updated 1-18-03)

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To see graph of the current snow profile CLICK HERE (Updated 1-21-03)


Good Morning.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 25, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you by our partner, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Black Diamond Equipment.


Current Conditions: 

A few light snow flurries have been reported in the mountains this morning.  While no measurable snow fell over night, most areas received 1 to 3” of thick snow from the last disturbance.  Yesterday, the rain/snow line was near 7,500’ at times, and what was falling at the higher elevations was generally over 10% density.  Winds are from the west-northwest and quite light, in the 5 to 15 mph range.  Temperatures are slightly cooler than yesterday morning, near 20 at 10,000’, and near 30 at 8,000’.  Turning conditions are surprisingly good in the thick powder on shady slopes, and the dense snow is making the crusts more friendly.


Avalanche Conditions:

It takes unreasonably warm temperatures have us worrying about wet snow sluffs and slabs in the month of January.  Yet yesterday, the few inches of dense new snow were sluffing easily on steep slopes.   And today, the expected 1 to 3” of dense snow could just be enough to tip the balance on some steep slopes.


At mid and low elevations, where there is a shallow punchy snowpack, once a sluff gets moving, it could gouge to the ground or even trigger a damp slab.  A few natural sluffs are possible at lower elevations.   So be especially careful to avoid terrain traps such as gullies where even a small sluff can pile the snow up deeply.


At the upper elevations, it will be possible to trigger both sluffs and the shallow wind slabs that have been forming along the ridges.  Once triggered, they have the potential to break into the weak snow below the thin sun and wind crusts, creating a larger wider slide.


So today, be alert for an increasing avalanche danger.  If you are in an area that receives more new snow than expected - 3 or more inches - or in an area where the winds pick up and start drifting the snow, the danger will rise rapidly. 


Bottom Line (SLC, Park City, Ogden and Logan Area Mountains):

If we get more than a couple inches of snow today, the danger will rise to MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially with recent wind drifts. There is a mostly LOW avalanche danger on slopes less steep than 35 degrees.


Western Uintas – call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Mountain Weather:

Another weak weather system is moving into the northern mountains this morning.  Storm totals should be about 1 to 3” today, of about 10% density snow.  High temperatures will be in the low to mid 30’s at 8,000’and in the low to mid 20’s at 10,000’.  The rain/snow line should be a bit lower than yesterday, around 6,000’.  Winds will be from the northwest, and increase into the 10 to 20 mph range.  Tonight, skies will start to clear as the atmosphere dries out and a ridge builds over us for Sunday.  Another weak system is expected for Monday into Tuesday.     


General Information:

Weather permitting, Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly today in Days, Silver, and Cardiff, returning through Grizzly Gulch.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported by Voile and Milosport, are offering an intensive three-day avalanche class February 15 – 17.  Half of the spots are reserved for snowboarders.  To sign up call the Black Diamond retail store at 801-278-0233.  


On Sunday February 2nd there will be a fundraiser for the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue avalanche dog program.  Tickets are available at the Black Diamond retail store.  Please call 435-615-2226 for more information and additional ticket locations. 


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email to [email protected] or fax to 801-524-6301.  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.


Ethan Greene will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: