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 21, 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 21, 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.


Current Conditions:

Skies are mostly cloudy this morning, and temperatures are in the mid teens and twenties.Winds are blowing strongly from the west and northwest on the highest peaks, 30 to 40 mph, with gusts to 60 but at 10,000 feet itís less blustery, 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 30.Some spots got a trace of new snow overnight.The turning, riding and snow shoeing conditions are generally quite good on shady, wind sheltered slopes in settled powder on a mostly supportable base.Southerly facing slopes are sun crusted.In between, on the east and west sides, zipper crusts add a little extra challenge.

Avalanche Conditions:

With only insignificant amounts of new snow since Sunday, some of our snow packís weaknesses have settled down a bit.Folks bolder than I am have been riding some quite steep lines without problems and for the third day in a row there were no new avalanches reported from the backcountry.Today the most likely place to get into avalanche trouble is along the upper elevation ridges and gullies where the current winds are drifting the surface snow.Slides in the fresh wind drifts may trigger larger avalanches breaking into buried faceted snow or into the layers of graupel or pellet snow that fell last Sunday.


There are also localized areas where a person could trigger a very dangerous slide into the deeply buried depth hoar.The most likely place to trigger one of these slides is on a very steep, shady slope with a relatively thin snowpack, above about 9,000í in elevation.I checked out one of these places yesterday and was dismayed by how weak the bottom of the snow pack is.Although I declined to drop into the 40 degree slope, there was already a set of tracks in it and I watched as another person center punched it without triggering a slide.I guess you pay your money and take your chances.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE at upper elevations on all steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.This danger increases with elevation and is significantly greater at the highest elevations above about 11,000 feet.†† There is also a MODERATE or localized 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.Dangerous human triggered slides are possible in these areas.


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


Mountain Weather:

Several minor weather systems will be crossing northern Utah over the next couple of days.Today will be mostly cloudy with a few snow flurries possible at times.Temperatures will be cool, in the mid twenties at 8,000 feet and in the teens and low twenties at 10,000.Winds will be from the northwest most of the day, shifting westerly later this afternoon.Upper elevation ridge top speeds will be 20 to over 30 mph.A stronger impulse may arrive late tonight, putting down several inches of snow on Saturday morning.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will probably not be flying today due to weather but if they do get out they will be in Days, Silver, Cardiff, White Pine and American Fork, with a home run in Grizzly Gulch.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, 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.Your information could save someoneís life.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 Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: