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


Friday, February 07, 2003

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Good Morning.  This is Tom Kimbrough with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, February 7, 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: 

This has easily been the best week of the winter so far.  The Alta Guard Station has reported 40 inches of new snow since last Saturday.  All areas seem to have picked up at least 18 to 24 inches and the turning and riding conditions are the best of the season.  This morning we also have the coldest temperatures of the season, well below zero in many places.  Fortunately winds remain light from the southeast.


Avalanche Conditions:

The new snow also produced quite a few avalanches and several close calls but the activity tapered off some yesterday.  There were a couple of slides from control work at the resorts in Little Cottonwood and another remotely triggered slide in South Monitor.  Lots of slopes have also been ridden without incident this week.


The avalanche activity has been quite consistent: Hard slabs breaking beneath the dirty layer from last Saturday’s west desert dust storm on the layer that was on the surface through most of January.  Most of these slides were in places that had already avalanched previously this season and thus have a relatively thin snowpack.  They were almost all at higher elevations and were on the north half of the compass.  In a couple of the slides that I checked out this week I’m not sure that I would have spotted them as being suspect areas but avoiding steep rocky places does seem like a good policy these days.  Our current very cold temperatures may now have helped lock the snow in place but cold temperatures also preserve instabilities.  I do think the stability has increased but the slides this week have been dangerous hard slabs breaking two or more feet deep and involving a lot of snow; not something to take lightly.  Continue to carry avalanche rescue gear and use all of your safe travel skills:  One at a time on the slope and get out of the way at the bottom.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that face northwest, north, northeast and east and are above about 9,000 feet.  Dangerous human triggered avalanches are possible in these areas.  I expect the cold temperatures will keep the sun from starting any wet slides but if the snow does get moist, the danger will rise on southerly facing slopes.  On slopes less steep than 35 degrees, at lower elevations and on south facing slopes that are not getting wet, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.


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


Mountain Weather:

It will be another beautiful but very cold winter day.  High temperatures may only get into the teens in many places, even in the sun.  Winds will be light from the east.  Skies will be mostly clear over the weekend with continued cold temperatures but some warming by Sunday.  


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will have two ships today, one in the Bountiful Sessions and Lambs Canyon and another in Days, Cardiff, Silver and Mineral Forks with homeruns 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.


I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: