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


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

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Avalanche advisory

Friday, DECEMBER 12, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Andrew McLean with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, December 12th 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


We’re giving two free avalanche awareness talks next week – one on Tuesday, the 16th, at the Salt Lake REI and the second on Thursday, the 18th, at the Sandy REI.  Both start at 7pm.


Current Conditions:

The mountains had a little painting of snow yesterday, which wasn’t quite the storm we had hoped for, but it freshened up turning and riding conditions with a few inches of very light snow and almost no wind.  The overcast skies helped preserve the fluffage and in general, you’ll find creamy settled powder between 8,000 and 10,000’.  The exception to this is on the sunny southern exposures, where it’s all you can eat dust-on-crust and on some of the higher ridge crests, which can be manky*.


Avalanche Conditions:

All the dreamy powder of a few days ago has been blown, sautéed and compacted into a classic soft slab.  If you remember from your Avalanche 101 class, some of the main ingredients of a slab avalanche are a slab, a weak layer and a trigger, such as a skier or rider.  The missing ingredient in our current situation is the weak layer, and with the variety of buried crusts, some depth hoar skulking around ridgeline rocks and isolated pockets of surface facets, there is an off-chance that you could trigger an avalanche in upper elevation, wind exposed areas.  Dropping cornices, safe travel techniques and a degree of suspicion are all in order if you are thinking about venturing into high, open terrain.


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

Upper elevation, wind exposed areas steeper than 35 degrees have a MODERATE chance of avalanche activity, while the danger is LOW everywhere else.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be mixture of mild temperatures and scattered clouds.  At 8,000’ the low is expected to be around 20 and the high will be close to 30 degrees.  Low level morning clouds should rise throughout the day with a light wind shifting from the northwest to the west.  A weak northwest flow will provide a bit of moisture as it moves across the area on Saturday, bringing a chance of snow and increasing winds.  The winds will continue from the west throughout the weekend with a cold front likely to arrive Sunday afternoon bringing much colder temperatures on 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 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. 


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory on Saturday morning.

Thanks for calling.


* Manky – a British rock climbing term denoting poor quality.


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: