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


Tuesday, February 04, 2003

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Good Morning.This is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Tuesday, February 04, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.We would like to acknowledge one of our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Uinta Brewing Company.


Current Conditions:

By all accounts, including my own, yesterday was by far the best day of the season, if you were in the upper parts of the Cottonwood Canyons with 1-2 feet of light powder and sunshine.Today will be yet another great day to call in sick.No, we wonít have any sunshine today, but we did get 5-9 more inches of very light heavenly snow overnight and Iím expecting 4-8 more inches of snow today.Bring your thick long underwear, face mask and warm mittens, because itís mighty chilly with temperatures barely cracking 10 degrees in the heat of the day.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche conditions are a quite tricky.Every year we reach this point where the deep snowpack areas are pretty solid while the thin snowpack areas want to take you for a ride.Thatís exactly what happened yesterday a couple of skiers were finding quite stable snow all day and when they descended a northeast facing slope between West Bowl of Silver Fork to the Meadow Chutes, the second skier triggered an avalanche and the lower skier had to grab a tree to keep from being swept over cliffs.It was on a northeast facing slope at 9,700í.It broke a couple feet deep in faceted snow and 250-300 feet wide.After it went over the cliffs, it stepped down to 3 Ĺ feet deep in wet depth hoar.Also yesterday, there were three different explosive triggered slides in the backcountry, one in Mary Ellen in American Fork and a couple more in McDonolds near the Canyons Resort. (see more complete list on the web, which I will update later this morninghttp://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm). All of these slides are either on slopes which have slid during the past month and remain shallow or are in shallow, rocky areas near ridges. The bottom line is that, as always, thin snow means weak snow, so be sure to be very diligent about poking and digging in the snow as you travel.Look for weak, sugary snow beneath the chocolate-brown crust created by the wind storm three days ago.


I have photos posted on the web of a skier-triggered avalanche, which fits this description two days ago on a northeast facing portion of Reynolds Peak (photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, check out the dirt layer!).A similar skier triggered avalanche occurred two days ago in Georgeís Bowl in Cardiff Fork.


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

There is aMODERATE danger of triggering an avalanche into deeper weak layers on northeast, north and northwest facing slopes steeper than 35 degrees that are above 9,000í or on any steep slope with recent wind drifts.†† This means that there are localized places where you can trigger an avalanche.There will also be some localized, loose sluffs within the new snow today on steep slopes.If we get much more snow than Iím expecting or if the wind comes up the danger will rise at least a notch.Below about 9,000í and on non-wind drifted south facing slopes the avalanche danger is generally LOW.


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


Mountain Weather:

A cold, unstable air mass will continue to push into the Wasatch Range from the northwest today and give us 4-8 more inches of very light snow with light ridge top winds.Ridge top temperatures will be around 8 degrees and 8,000í temperatures will be around 15 degrees.The ridge top winds will turn northerly tonight and dry out and we will probably see some sun on Wednesday with continued cold temperatures with another weak pulse on Thursday.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will probably not be able to fly today, but if they do get out, they will be in Days, Cardiff and Silver with a home run in White Pine.


We will teach a free avalanche awareness talk for snowboarders at Milo Sport on Wednesday, February 12th at 7:00 pm.They are on 3300 South and 3119 East.


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


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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: