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


Wednesday, January 29, 2003

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Good Morning.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, January 29, 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: 

It is a delightful morning in the mountains, with clear skies and pleasantly cool temperatures, ranging from the upper teens to low twenties.  The northwesterly winds are light, in the 5 to 15 mph range.  Turning conditions will be first-rate on shady slopes above about 9,000’ in 6 to 9” of settled powder.  But if you’re in the mood to torment yourself, there are widespread areas of thick, breakable Styrofoam crusts on any slope which received sun yesterday.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, there were many small natural and skier triggered avalanches within the new snow.  It was easy to get the new snow to sluff on both sunny and shady slopes, sometimes trigging a small soft slab.  The slides were generally 20 to 40’ wide, and mostly stopping short as the slope angle decreased.  Natural releases were reported from the Monitors, the Cardiff drainage, Tuskarora and the Provo area mountains, some triggered by heat of the sun.   But as always, there were a few exceptions.  A skier on a treed ridge line of Square Top remotely triggered a slide across the face that was about 150’ wide, and broke a foot deep into the upper layers of facets.  Two backcountry travelers reported collapses, and the resorts also reported a few isolated slides that broke into the upper old snow layers.  Below about 8,500’, wet slides from resort control work were gouging down and creating large debris piles.  Avalanche activity was significantly more widespread in Ogden area mountains, which received the most water weight from the storm.  


Last nights cooler temperatures will have settled out many of these instabilities.  Today, the most likely place to get in trouble would be on a continuously long, steep, shady slope.  Here, even a smaller sluff would have the potential entrain snow and pick up speed resulting in more serious consequences.  In isolated areas, slides could still break into the upper layers of facets.


Warming temperatures and direct sun will initiate another round of wet snow activity today.  Easterly facing slopes will be the first to become active, followed by south and west.  High thin clouds are in the forecast, which will cause “green housing”, the heating of the snow surface even on shady slopes.


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

Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes about 35 degrees or steeper, which face northwest, north, northeast and east, above about 9,000’.  There is LOW danger this morning on slopes less than about 35 degrees, slopes below about 9,000’ and on the sunny slopes.  As the day heats up, the avalanche danger will increase to MODERATE on and below steep slopes of all elevations and aspects. 


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


Mountain Weather:

There will be mostly sunny skies this morning, with increasing high thin clouds clouds this afternoon.  Highs today will be in the low 40’s at 8,000’ and near 30 at 10,000’.  Winds will be in the 10 to 20 mph range from the northwest.  Increasing clouds late tonight, with northwest winds 25 to 30 mph by morning, and lows in the mid to upper 20’s.  A moist northwest flow will move across northern Utah Thursday and Thursday night, bringing an increase in winds and a small shot of snow.  A colder, more powerful storm should reach the area on Saturday.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in upper Silver Fork and upper and mid Days and Cardiff drainages, with a home run in 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.  


This 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.


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: