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

MONDAY, DECEMBER 22, 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 Monday, December 22nd, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

Yesterday’s Pacific storm came in bits and pieces, but it turned out to be a decent sized storm.  Storm totals across the range are 12–16” in the Cottonwoods, 7-9” along the Park City ridgeline, 12” in the Provo mountains, 6” or less in Ogden and Logan, and about a foot in the Uintas.  Densities ranged from 7-8% in the central Wasatch to 10-12% in Provo.  The winds were most significant in the Provo mountains in the morning with averages in the 20’s, but despite a gusty period in the early afternoon in the central Wasatch, winds were generally light.  As the storm moved through, winds veered from southwest to northwest and have continued wrapping north and northeast and are still currently less than 10-15mph.  Skies are now clear in the mountains and temperatures have dropped into the high teens and low twenties.  


Avalanche Conditions:

Reports from the backcountry indicate that the new light density snow was sluffing very easily on many upper elevation steep slopes, with some isolated areas where shallow soft slabs were formed from the winds.   As very light density snow doesn’t take much to move around, backcountry travelers were able to drop cornices and throw in a few slope cuts to produce soft slabs up to about 6” or so.  These were found just off the ridgelines, on steep north and east facing slopes.   In the Provo mountains, the activity was more widespread as they picked up about a foot of snow in the early morning accompanied by moderate southwest winds.  A couple shallow new snow naturals were reported in the wind blown snow and ski cuts were producing soft slabs up to a foot deep.  For today, it will be important to start on lower angled slopes, do some quick hasty pits, jump on some test slopes, and nibble around the edges before fully committing to a steep slope.  Sluffing in the new snow may also pack enough of a punch to knock you off your feet or machine – sluff management and awareness of potential consequences will be the rule here.  Lastly, with sunny skies, I’d expect wet activity as the day wears on.  Steep sunny slopes will likely see some wet activity in the new light density snow and will initially be produced around steep rocky cliff bands and trees.  


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Moderate implies that human triggered avalanches will be possible with naturals unlikely.  On lower angled terrain, the danger is LOW .


Uinta Mountains:  As the Uinta Mountains picked up a foot or more of snow accompanied by moderate winds, the danger is CONSIDERABLE.  With a much weaker snowpack in the Uintas, any avalanches triggered may step down into old snow, producing large and dangerous slides.  Extra caution should be observed in the Uintas on mid and upper elevation steep slopes.


Mountain Weather:

Skies are already clearing in the mountains and we should see light northerly winds and mild temperatures.  8000’ temps will be in the high twenties with 10,000’ temps in the mid twenties.  Tomorrow and Wednesday should be partly cloudy, with the next storm due Thursday or Friday.  


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.


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



General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in the American Fork drainage today.


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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory on Tueday 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: