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


: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Thursday.  November 6, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Andrew McLean with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, November 06, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

Face shots outnumbered core-shots by about 10:1 yesterday.  Every turn is an adventure with early season conditions in full effect.  Trail breaking in upper Little Cottonwood was arduous at best and exceedingly difficult the rest of the time due to the deep new snow directly on top of rocks and deadfall.  To heighten the experience, flat light and falling snow decreased visibility throughout the day.  So, why bother?  Because the mid elevation turning conditions are superb, especially for this time of year.  The key is to look for moderate angle, wind sheltered, slopes with smooth grassy surfaces.  There have been glowing reports from people touring in bounds at the resorts, but remember they aren’t open yet and all of the backcountry rules apply.  Between 8,000 and 11,000’ there is a uniform depth of snow on all aspects ranging from 16 to 24” of  medium density settled snow.  The snowpack has compacted by up to 50% since the beginning of this storm and is now providing a supportable skiing and boarding surface but probably not supportable enough for off trail for snowmobile riding.  Alta will be sighting in their 105 howitzers this morning between 8 and 9 am and the resort will be closed. 


Yesterday’s storm totals added 4.5” in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon and roughly 2” in upper Big Cottonwood.  There were field reports of zipper crusts on southerly slopes towards the end of the day.


Avalanche Conditions:

The good news is that all this new snow fell directly on warm ground and it’s not only bonded well to the ground, but most of the weak layers within the new snow have settled out, making for mostly stable conditions and low danger.  However, we have heard a rumor that someone triggered an avalanche yesterday on Jupiter Peak on the Park City ridgeline and there may be an injury.  We’re still trying to find details of this accident, but I’m assuming that they found a wind slab still lingering from the instability of three days ago.  Yesterday I and several other observers found the old wind slabs to only be only pesky for turning on but otherwise well bonded.  The light winds have created a few, minor and soft cornices along the exposed ridges. 


Bottom Line:

Currently, the avalanche hazard is low, with rocks, trees and hidden obstacles presenting the main hazards.


Mountain Weather:

Weak high pressure will move across the area today. A southerly flow will develop late today through Saturday ahead of a system over the California Coast. Moisture will begin to increase late tonight and Friday with a slight chance of light snow Friday.  The 8,000’ temperatures are expected to be in the mid 30’s with a low of about 20 and light, ridgetop winds.  At 10,000’ the highs will be in the upper 20’s, lows will be about 20 and the wind will be from the W/SW at 5-10mph.  The immediate forecast is for partly cloudy skies with no new snow expected.


General Information:

Don’t miss the annual ski swap at REI this weekend but on by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  You can check in any backcountry or cross country equipment Thursday and Friday evenings and the swap opens at 9:00 am on Saturday morning.  Call 365-5522 for more information.


If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what you’re seeing, especially if you trigger an avalanche.  You can leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation 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. 


We will update this advisory Friday morning.

 Thanks for calling!


For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: