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 19, 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 19th, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

The high pressure system remained firmly parked in place yesterday with the overnight lows barely below freezing at the Alta Guard Station.  Today it looks like we are in for another temperature inversion in the Salt Lake valley, with the mountains being partly cloudy this morning with a light wind out of the S/SW.  The daytime temperatures are expected to hit a steamy 50 degrees at 8,000’.  On shady northern aspects, the turning and riding conditions have miraculously survived and still have fast, bouncy powder, however, you’ll be paying your dues with crusty conditions on sunny slopes at all elevations.



Avalanche Conditions:

It was a roller ball derby in the backcountry yesterday, with numerous wet point releases sending scattered debris for long rides down sun exposed aspects.  With last night barely getting below freezing and today expected to be another hot one, wet sluffs will be the main concern, especially in the afternoon. These sluffs tend to start around rock outcroppings, or as the result of a slope cut.  They are generally slow moving, but dangerous to get caught in, especially in a terrain trap.  When braving a sunny afternoon slope, or building a gap jump, stick to the ridgelines and avoid gullies. 


There were also isolated reports of small, 2-3” deep pockets of windslabs cracking and moving yesterday in areas that have recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  These are generally too small to be dangerous, but something to watch out for if you see wind loaded pillows on steeper terrain.



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

There is still a MODERATE chance of triggering a wind loaded drift in isolated areas along higher elevation ridgelines.  In all other areas, the danger is LOW, with the main concern being wet sluffs.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be partly cloudy with warm temperatures in the mid 40’s at 8,000’ and a light breeze out of the southwest.  The high pressure system will start to weaken during the day, bringing partly cloudy skies in advance of a Pacific weather system.  It looks like the anticipated storm front will split, with the bulk of it heading south, leaving only a ghosting of clouds over Utah.  Starting Saturday evening, the temperatures are expected to drop and the winds increase to moderate or strong.  There is a slight chance of snow on Sunday, and then high pressure will return at the beginning of next week.


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:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Days, White Pine and Grizzly Gulch yesterday and today they will be flying in the White Pine and American Fork drainages.


If you get out early, each day we try to update our more detailed, early morning report with preliminary information by around 6:00 am at (801) 364-1591.


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. 


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory on Saturday 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: