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


Sunday, February 09, 2003

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To see a list of recent avalanches, CLICK HERE, (Updated 2-8-03)


Good Morning.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, February 09, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.  The Banff Film Festival is coming to Kingsbury Hall this week, February 12th and 13th, with different films each night.  The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center benefits from this event.  Tickets are available at Kingsbury Hall, Art-Tix, the Outdoor Rec Program and REI, or call 581-8516 for information. 


Current Conditions: 

Under mostly cloudy skies, it’s another single digit morning in the mountains, with temperatures below 10 degrees at most elevations.  The winds are increasing, and are averaging 15 to 25 mph from the west and northwest, with gusts into the 30’s.  Most sunny slopes got crusted yesterday, and the areas of wind damage will become more widespread in exposed terrain today.  But there continues to be enchantingly fine settled powder on the sheltered, shady slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

Another slide was remotely triggered in the backcountry yesterday by a group skinning up the Monte Cristo ridgeline.  The slide was on a southeasterly facing slope, 2 to 3’ deep, 300’ wide and long running, with the air blast dusting the Little Cottonwood Highway.  This brings the close calls in the Central Wasatch to 10 in the past 5 days.  3 of the slides were remotely triggered from a distance, and 5 released after the skier was well down onto the slope.  While many steeper slopes are being skied and boarded without incident, the slides that do get triggered are seriously large.  There is a consistent pattern to the slide activity:  Hard slabs breaking in facets a foot or more beneath the dirty layer from last Saturday’s west desert dust storm, with a few breaking in depth hoar near the ground.  Most of these slides are in thin snowpack areas - slopes that have avalanched previously this season or in steep rocky places. They are all at higher elevations on northwest through easterly facing slopes.  It’s worth taking a look at a few of these recent slides – after I checked out the Twin Lakes slides yesterday, low angle terrain looked rather pleasant. 


Today, the winds are significantly increasing hazard as they start to drift the snow.  Expect to find sensitive drifts along ridges and in exposed locations, and drifts cross loaded along sub ridges and gully walls.  Developing cornices may break back further than expected.  As always, avoid any steep slope with recent wind drifts. 



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

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that face northwest, north, northeast and east and are above about 9,000 feet (Ogden – MODERATE above 8,500), and CONSIDERABLE on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Out of wind affected terrain, on slopes less steep than 35 degrees, at lower elevations and on south 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:

A cold, northwesterly flow will continue over the area for one more day.  Mostly cloudy skies today and tonight, with occasional snow flurries.  Highs will be near 10 at 10,000’ and near 20 at 8,000’.  The moderate northwesterly winds will average 20 to 25 mph across the ridges.  Cold once again tonight, with lows in the single digits.  Significant warming and increasing winds Monday through Wednesday, with the next chance for snowfall at the end of the week as a warm Pacific storm moves in.


General Information:

Weather permitting, Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly two ships today, in Snake Creek, Lambs Canyon and American Fork.


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 Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, are offering an int+ensive three-day avalanche class February 15 – 17.    A generous donation by Voile and Milosport helps make this class affordable at $125.  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 Monday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: