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


Tuesday, February 25, 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 Tuesday, February 25, 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 Alta Ski Lifts.


Current Conditions:

Light density snow continued to add up overnight, especially in the southern portions of the range.  Sundance is reporting a foot of new snow overnight, the Cottonwoods about 6 inches, with about 4 inches in the Park City mountains and 3 in the Ogden area.  Winds are fairly light but are hitting 15 mph on the high ridges.  Temperatures are in the teens.


Avalanche Conditions:

There were three slides reported from the backcountry yesterday.  One was a large slide reported from a distance in No-Name Bowl on the Park City side of the range that probably released sometime late Sunday due to wind drifting.  A smaller slide was triggered by explosive testing in the American Fork drainage.  The most significant avalanche was triggered by skiers in the backcountry between Brighton and Alta on the Snake Creek side of Pioneer Ridge.  This slide broke about 18 inches deep on a sun crust but quickly stepped to 2 to 3 feet into old snow and widened to about 200 feet.  Fortunately it broke right at their skin track and no one was caught.  This slide probably initiated in a fresh wind drift and is unusual in that it was reported as being on a southwest facing slope.


Today’s avalanche problems will be distributed geographically, both horizontally and vertically.  The southern parts of the range that have received the most new snow will have the greatest danger.  Plus, the upper elevation ridges and gullies will have a greater danger on all slopes that are receiving wind drifted snow.  In many areas north of about the American Fork drainage, where there is less snow and little wind, the danger will be less.


It is still possible to trigger avalanches on the deeper weak layers in all areas, especially on very steep slopes facing the north half of the compass that have a thin snow pack, particularly slopes that have avalanched previously this season.  Also any avalanches in the new snow may step down into deeper layers, producing very dangerous slides.


In the southern parts of the range that already have a foot of new snow with more on the way, the danger is greater with natural avalanches possible.  People should avoid steep slopes and avalanche runout areas.


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

The avalanche danger today is CONSIDERABLE in the southern parts of the range and may rise to HIGH with additional accumulations.  In the northern parts of the range that have received less new snow, the danger is MODERATE, with human triggered avalanches possible.  There is also a MODERATE danger of triggering very dangerous avalanches into deeper weak layers on slopes facing northwest, north, northeast and east, steeper than about 35 degrees and that are above about 9,000 feet.  


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


Mountain Weather:

As this storm proceeds through southern and central Utah, the northern portions of the state will be on the fringes of the action.  Skies will be overcast with light to moderate snowfall with accumulations of about 3 to 6 inches today (4 to 8 – Provo Mountains).  Winds will be 10 to 15 mph over the ridges from the southwest.  High temperatures will be in the mid twenties at 8,000 feet and in the teens at 10,000.  Our weather will stay unsettled through the week with no major storms forecasted but with minor systems bringing occasional periods of snow. 


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying today due to weather.


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 someone’s 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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: