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, February 05, 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, February 05, 2003, and it’s 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: 

Skies are mostly clear this morning, and the toe numbing temperatures are near zero.  Winds continue to be very light at all elevations, less than 10 mph from the north.  Yesterday, snow showers added an additional 3 to 6” of very light powder, and the settled new snow depths are 1 to 2 ½ feet deep.  Most slopes are blanketed in deep, intoxicating powder providing some of the best turning and riding conditions this winter.


Avalanche Conditions:

The snow pack is on edge, and there were two very close calls yesterday.  A party on the north side of Cardiff pass triggered a large hard slab avalanche.  On their second run, they were traversing further to the east when the slide broke out above them.  One skier was caught and carried over a 1,000’.  He managed to grab on to a tree for a short while mid ride and ended up on top uninjured.  The slide was on a northerly facing slope at about 10,000’, and is reported as approximately 200’ wide, and up to six feet deep.  It broke in sugary faceted snow a short ways above the ground.


The second slide was just above Twin Lakes pass on a northeast facing slope at 10,000’.  It broke a couple turns above the skier, and carried him 200’.  He was buried with only his hand above the surface.  His partners rapidly dug him out uninjured.  This slide was roughly 60’ wide and 3’ deep.  Both these slides occurred after the parties had made 1 or more runs with no signs of instability.


You need a suspicious attitude if you are traveling on slopes of about 35 degrees or steeper today, because if you do trigger a slide, it will be deep and dangerous.  Most of the recent slides have occurred on slopes that slid during the past month and have a shallow snowpack, or in shallow, rocky areas near ridges.  Our snow pack is still quite variable, and determining the shallow snow pack areas is difficult.  In a few steep areas, sluffs in the new snow getting big enough to wash you off a cliff or into trees.  Cornices are sensitive, and can break back further back than expected, and then trigger a slab on the slope below.


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

There is a MODERATE danger of triggering an avalanche into deeper weak layers on northwest, north, northeast and east facing slopes steeper than 35 degrees that are above 9,000’ or on any steep slope with recent wind drifts.  In shallow snowpack areas, the danger is closer to CONSIDERABLE.  There will also be some loose sluffs within the new snow on steep slopes. If the wind does increase, the danger will rise rapidly rise on steep wind drifted slopes. On slopes less steep the 35 degrees, any slope below about 9,000’ and on non-wind drifted southerly facing slopes the avalanche danger is generally LOW.


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


Mountain Weather:

Cold and unsettled weather will remain over the area for another 24 hours.  Increasing clouds this morning, with another few inches of light density snow possible late this afternoon into this evening as a pocket of colder air invades northern Utah.  Temperatures today will struggle to reach the mid teens at 8,000’, and remain near 5 at 10,000’.  The northerly ridge top winds should remain light, less the 15 mph.  Lows will be near zero again tonight.  A ridge of high pressure will work into the area Friday, giving northern Utah mostly sunny skies through the weekend. 


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be in Days, Cardiff and Silver drainages, possibly Alexander and Porter Fork, with a home run in Grizzly Gulch.


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


The Banff Film Festival is coming to Kingsbury Hall February 12th and 13th, with proceeds donated to the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  For ticket information, call 581-8516. 


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.  


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: