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 19, 2003

If you want this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day for free, click HERE.

If you want recent archives of this advisory, click HERE.

To e-mail us an observation, CLICK HERE.

To see photos of recent avalanche activity CLICK HERE (Updated 2-16-03)

To see a list of recent avalanches, CLICK HERE, (Updated 2-18-03)


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 19, 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.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly clear skies, temperatures are pleasantly cool this morning, in the single digits to mid teens.  Winds are from a southerly direction and are currently less than 15 mph at all mountain stations.  The Cottonwoods picked up a quick inch of snow yesterday afternoon, and turning and riding conditions are generally quite good on shady, wind sheltered slopes in dense settled powder and graupel.


Avalanche Conditions:

Because of the frustrating, variable snow pack, I’ve put in my order for a pair of Inspector Gadget x-ray snow glasses, which will allow me to peer into the snowpack to check both the depth and strength of the snow layers.  Unfortunately, they are on permanent back order…. so here is the usual, more conventional information.


Yesterday, a backcountry traveler triggered a small new snow slide with a ski cut in Main Days.  It was on a 35 degree slope at 10,000’, about 25 feet wide and 8-10” deep.  Control work in Big Cottonwood released a few deeper pockets breaking into facets in very steep, rocky areas.  These were 20 to 40’ wide, and 2 to 3’ deep.  Additional information on Monday’s avalanche activity has trickled in.  Near the Park City ridgeline, a ski cut released a 150’ wide hard slab on a southeast facing slope at 9,900’.  It was 1 to 2’ deep, and ran on a thin layer of facets sitting on a melt freeze crust.  Natural activity occurred in the White Pine and Bountiful Peak areas some time late Sunday or Monday. 


A lack of widespread activity each day does not dispel the persistent uneasy feeling I have about our snow pack.  As you head into the backcountry today, remember it is still possible to trigger a deep, dangerous slide breaking on facets.  Especially watch out for steep, shady slopes with a thin snowpack above about 9,000’ in elevation.  It is also possible to trigger a slide within the most recent snow, primarily on slopes with recent wind drifts.  And finally, steep, sunny slopes may heat up today, resulting in loose wet sluffs.


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

There is a MODERATE (or localized) danger of triggering an avalanche within the new snow on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially where wind loaded.  There is also a MODERATE danger of triggering an avalanche on deeper weak layers of old, faceted snow on slopes that face northwest, north, northeast and east, steeper than about 35 degrees and above about 9,000 feet, especially in thin, rocky areas.  And with day time heating, the danger of damp sluffs and slabs may increase to MODERATE on and below steep slopes.


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


Mountain Weather:

A weak ridge will move across northern Utah today, with the next storm system splitting before it reaches Utah late tonight.  This morning, there will be mostly sunny skies, with increasing high clouds this afternoon.  Winds will be light, less than 15 mph from the south.  Highs will be in the upper teens at 10,000’ and in the low 30’s at 8,000’.  Tonight and Thursday will be mostly cloudy, with a couple inches of snow possible from scattered snow showers.  Lows tonight 15 to 20 degrees, with westerly winds in the 15 to 20 mph range.  Utah will then be under a northwest flow Thursday through early next week.  Weak disturbances and pockets of moisture could bring occasional scattered showers, but no major storms are in site.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in Days, Silver and Cardiff, and possibly White Pine, with a home run in Grizzly Gulch.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, remember that the information you have could save someone’s life.  Please leave a message on our answer machine at (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 Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: