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

sUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, December 14th 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

Early yesterday morning, the Wasatch mountains from Ogden to Provo experienced a freezing rain and rime event that varied wildly with aspect, elevation, and even drainage.  For example, you could find it at Mt. Ogden, but not at Ben Lomond; you could find it in Provo Canyon, but not in American Fork; it was more pronounced in Little Cottonwood than perhaps Big Cottonwood and certainly Mill Creek.  Crusts seemed to be most stout at the mid-elevations and barely perceptible above 9500’.  Where rimed, south and west aspects may have been more affected and some areas may even have two.  Amid the rime and freezing rain, the mountains picked up 1-3” of snow.

As we are still under a strong southwest flow, mountain temperatures are still on a 24 hour rising trend and are in the 30’s at most locations.  Winds are 25-35+ along the ridgelines and gusting to 50.  While the terrain holding good snow is narrowing, good turning and riding conditions can still be found today in the upper elevation northerly aspects.


Avalanche Conditions:

The rime/rain event effectively kept any wind transport of new snow in check yesterday and despite increasing winds, I suspect the cargo net will keep things generally quiet again today.  The ‘event’ had little effect upon the avalanche conditions yesterday, but may become a player in the future.  Over and above acting as a slick sliding surface, rain/rime crusts can produce conditions favorable for the development of weak faceted snow.  We’ll just have to keep an eye on it for this over the long term.  Conditions will change dramatically overnight, as a strong cold front is expected to bring significant snowfall and strong winds to the mountains.  


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

There is a generally LOW danger of human triggered avalanches today.  Areas where someone could trigger a new wind drift will be in isolated areas on the steep northerly aspects.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be mostly cloudy, warm, and windy.  8000’ temps will be in the mid-thirties with 10,000’ temps in the high twenties.  Ridgetop winds will be strong (30+) out of the southwest.  A vigorous cold front will arrive early evening that should lower temps by 10-15 degrees by Monday and produce a foot or more of snow.  It looks like most of the snowfall will be overnight, with some showers lingering into tomorrow morning.  Also of significance is the forecast for continued strong winds from the northwest after frontal passage.  A ridge moves in for Monday afternoon and into midweek.  



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:

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.


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 will update this advisory on Monday 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: