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

Saturday, DECEMBER 20, 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 Friday, December 20th, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

Clouds moving across northern Utah acted like a blanket last night, and temperatures in the mountains remained astonishingly warm.  Many 10,000’ stations spent the night in the 35 to 40 degree range, but are finally starting to cool as a weak storm arrives.  The southwesterly winds have picked up in the last few hours, and are in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts across the highest peaks hitting 40 to 50 mph.  Crusts and damp snow dominate the snow surface, but on upper elevation, shady, northerly facing slopes there is still good soft, dense snow.


Avalanche Conditions:

Wet sluff activity may continue today until the cooler air arrives.  Temperatures at many mountains locations haven’t dipped below freezing in the past 24 hours, so the shady slopes may also have wet sluff activity.  The loose snow sluffs on all aspects may need a push to get started, but once they do get going could be large enough to send you for a ride off a cliff or bury you in a terrain trap such as a gully.  With wind speeds in the moderate range, expect a few new shallow wind drifts to form.  These pockety drifts will be most common on along the higher elevation ridgelines, and should be avoided on any steep slopes.  


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

Most terrain in the northern Wasatch mountains has a LOW avalanche danger today, with the main concern being loose wet sluffs.  However, any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow has a MODERATE danger.


Mountain Weather:

A weakening storm system will brush the area today.  The mountains will have mostly cloudy skies with a chance for isolated rain or snow showers.  Temperatures will reach their highs this morning – into the mid 40’s at 8,000’, and near 40 at 10,000’.  Cooler air is already starting to filter in, and will drop the snow line from 8,500’ down to 7,000’.  The moderate southwesterly winds will also decrease this afternoon, to less than 15 mph.   Tonight there will be mostly cloudy skies and cooler temperatures, with lows in the upper 20’s.  Light snow is possible on Sunday, with accumulations of 1 to 4”.  Then back to high pressure for Monday through Wednesday. 


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 White Pine and American Fork yesterday and if they can fly today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver and Patsy Marley.


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. 


Drew Hardesty will update this advisory on Sunday 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: