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, February 01, 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 Saturday, February 01, 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: 

Now Tom may have been checking the temperature and snow records, but I check the parking lots.  January has consistently seen more vehicles parked near the granite than in the White Pine lot in Little Cottonwood, telling me that it should go in the record book of months to forget.  And while there are only a few hours of the January thaw left, they continue to be notable.  It is an astonishing 36 degrees at 11,000’ this morning and near 40 at 10,000’.  The winds are from the southwest and in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 30’s to 50’s.  For skiers, the snow conditions are rough - the widespread leg breaking crusts will make the sloppy snow at lower elevations and on sunny slopes seem user friendly, and it may not be worth fighting your way through the crusts to reach the remnants of soft snow on the upper elevation, northerly facing slopes.  Snowboarders were having a much better time yesterday, blasting through both the crusts and sloppy snow.


Avalanche Conditions:

The most notable avalanche reported yesterday was in Dutch Draw, along the Park City ridgeline. (Photos of Dutch Draw avalanche, photo 1, photo 2) A skier started a wet loose sluff on a steep southeast facing slope, which then triggered a wet slab about 80’ across that gouged to the ground.  With no refreeze last night and partly cloudy skies, wet snow sluffs and slabs are possible on steep slopes of most aspects again today.  While wet snow slides will be most likely at the low and mid elevations, they are also possible above 10,000’ today, especially in the shallow weak snowpack areas that have previously slid this winter.  Avoid terrain traps such as gullies where debris could pile up deeply. 


The strong winds do have some loose snow to blow around, mainly above about 9,500’.  Look for and avoid fresh drifts of wind blown snow on steep slopes.  Cornices may build out today and be sensitive along windy ridges.  The avalanche danger may increase rather suddenly with elevation, and may become CONSIDERABLE above about 10,000 feet along wind exposed ridges.


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

With no refreeze last night and 8,000 foot temperatures rising to near 50 today, the danger of wet slides is MODERATE (– Ogden ) on all steep slopes today. There is also a MODERATE avalanche danger above about 9,500 feet (8,000 – Ogden) on slopes of about 35 degrees and steeper, with fresh wind drifts.  With a storm headed our way, expect a rising avalanche danger tonight and tomorrow.


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


Mountain Weather:

Today, there will be increasing southwest winds and clouds ahead of a Pacific cold front which will cross northern Utah around midnight.  Highs will be in the upper 30’s at 10,000’ and near 50 at 8,000’.  The southwest winds will crank, averaging 20 to 30 across the ridges, with gusts in the 40’s and 50’s.  Snowfall will start by midnight, and storm totals should be around a foot by Sunday afternoon.  Sunday will finally feel like winter, with highs only in the low teens to low 20’s.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying.


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.


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: