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


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Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, DECEMBER 2, 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 Tuesday, December 2nd 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


We will be giving two free avalanche awareness talks this week – one tonight at the Salt Lake REI on 3900th South at 7 pm and one at Kirkham’s, Saturday, December 6th, at 7pm.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday’s strong winds and airborne water droplets closed the final chapter on our stellar early season conditions.  With more variety of crusts than a French bakery, good turns are getting harder to find in the mountains, but if you are willing to lower your standards and stretch your definition of “good snow” you can still find a bit of softness lurking in higher elevation, sheltered areas.  As they say in the Northwest, “If you can’t drink it, it’s powder.”  Currently, the 8,000’ temperatures are at a 24 hour low and hovering around 22 degrees.  Today’s high is expected in the mid 30’s, with the winds dying down and shifting to the northwest.


Avalanche Conditions:

The good news is that the current conditions have put the avalanche activity into a holding pattern.  Cooling winds and temperatures right around freezing yesterday and last night have consolidated the snowpack into a homogenous mass that is well bonded in place.  Even the point releases and pinwheels of a few days ago have gone into remission. There were no reports of avalanche activity in the backcountry yesterday, although with ridgetop gusts of up to 70 mph, any loose snow was blown on to the lee side of ridgelines, creating wind loaded drifts that could be sensitive to a human trigger.  While we are currently enjoying stable conditions at the expense of treacherous turns, direct sun or warmer temperatures could tip the scales into the wet slide zone.  At lower elevations, or if the sun comes out in force, watch out for wet point release avalanches on steep slopes just below rock outcroppings.


Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo area mountains):

There is a LOW chance of natural or human triggered avalanches in all areas with the exception of a MODERATE danger on higher elevation wind loaded slopes, especially in the Ogden area mountains where the winds have been stronger.


Mountain Weather:

The weak storm that was predicted just got even weaker and has turned into a non event.  A slight cooling trend will continue through today and tomorrow, with temperatures ranging from the mid teens at night to the mid 30’s during the day at 8,000’.   The winds should taper off, shift to the west and be in the 20 mph range on the ridgetops.  A weak system will move in by late Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning with a slight chance of snow showers, and then be followed by high pressure during the day.  Starting on Friday, an increasing southwest flow will precede a storm with our first chance of significant snow happening next Sunday or Monday.



3-Day Table

3-Day Graph

7-Day Table

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains


For specific digital forecasts for selected mountain areas from the National Weather Service, click the links below or choose your own specific location at the National Weather Service Digital Forecast Page:


General 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. 


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory on Wednesday 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: