Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


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Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, DECEMBER 10, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, December 10th 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


We’re giving a free avalanche awareness talk tonight at 7pm, at the Mt. Olympus Presbyterian church (3280E 3900S), sponsored by the Wasatch Mountain Club.


Current Conditions:

A weakening, but moist storm system will move into northern Utah by early afternoon.  Ahead of the storm, temperatures have shot up into the upper teens and low 20’s, which is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.   The south to southwesterly winds also picked up shortly before midnight.  They are currently averaging 25 to 35 mph across the highest peaks and 15 to 20 mph along lower ridgelines and down into open mid elevation terrain.   The maximum gusts have been in the 35 to 65 mph range.


If you’re hunting for powder today, head for wind sheltered, shady slopes.  The sunny slopes got well crusted yesterday, and many of the upper elevation slopes and open bowls are becoming wind drifted or scoured.


Avalanche Conditions:

Wind can change avalanche conditions faster than any other weather factor, and the wind is making this a day of rising avalanche danger.  With over a foot of light density snow available for transport, the wind is rapidly building drifts and slabs of snow.  These new soft wind slabs will be 1 to 2 feet deep, and are sitting on the weak, light powder that made yesterday’s turning and riding conditions so great.  I expect the drifts to be very sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes.   With southerly to westerly winds, the fresh wind drifts will be most common on northerly through easterly facing slopes.  But watch out for cross loading – some wind drifts will form well off the ridges around sub ridges, breakovers, along gully walls, and on other aspects.  As the day progresses, these wind drifts will deepen and widen, and any denser snow that falls this afternoon will add to the problem.  On slopes out of the wind affected terrain, the avalanche danger remains low.


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

The avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE today on steep, wind loaded slopes where the new wind drifts deepen to a foot or more.  Considerable means that human triggered slides likely and natural avalanches are possible.  The avalanche danger is MODERATE on all other slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Out of the wind affected terrain, the avalanche danger is LOW.


Mountain Weather:

Clouds will increase today as the low pressure system over northern California moves into northern Utah by early afternoon.  Light snowfall could start any time after noon, and will continue through about midnight, with snow totals of 4 to 7 inches.  The southwesterly winds will remain in the 20 to 30 mph range today, with strong gusts. The winds will then decrease and shift to the west tonight.  Temperatures today will be near 30 at 8,000’ and in the upper teens at 10,000’.  The weather will remain unsettled through Friday, with mostly cloudy skies and periods of light snow.  


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 Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is offering two 3-day avalanche workshops which are being held January 17-19 and February 14-16.  Information and sign-up sheets are available at the Black Diamond store (2092 E. 3900 S.; 278-0233).


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 update this advisory on Thursday 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: