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

thursday, January 8, 2004†† 7:30 am


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, January 8, and itís 7:30 a.m.


For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, click HERE.

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, click HERE.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday morning the winds nuked from the southwest with hourly averages 30-40 and gusting 50-60.†† As you might imagine, it created widespread areas of wind slabs, mostly along upper elevation wind exposed terrain, but the winds were so strong they swirled around a lot and everybody reported odd areas of wind drifting.Sometimes it was worse at mid elevations than high elevations.In general, though, the lower elevation wind sheltered areas down in the trees still have decent turning and riding conditions but the 3-6 inches of new snow we got yesterday was denser than what was underneath, making it feel a little slabby.About two inches of snow fell overnight but skies are clear this morning with ridge top temperatures in the mid 20ís and winds 10-20 from the west.


Avalanche Conditions:

It was a fun day to be out if you were an avalanche nerd.I had a great time yesterday cruising along the very windy ridge lines around Brighton and Park City stomping on little test slopes.I triggered perhaps 15 soft slab avalanches on small 10-20 foot high slopes and I saw perhaps 15 natural avalanches.(Click HERE for photos.)Most of the other avalanche pros and observers were able to do the same in other areas.Most of these were about a foot deep and most were soft slabs but occasionally they were hard slabs that would break above you.There was a couple backcountry skiers yesterday who found themselves on the wrong side of the fracture line and two people were caught and partially buried, one on Flagstaff Ridge across from Alta and another on Mt. Timpanogos near Aspen Grove.Yesterday there was also a large natural avalanche on Timpanogos on the Middle Finger.I suspect that the wind slabs have stabilized quite a bit in the 16 hours since the strong winds blew and they will be much more difficult to trigger today.But you will still find some slopes you can trigger, mostly along upper elevation ridges but occasionally down at lower elevations.As always, you should avoid steep slopes with recent wind deposits.You can recognize them by their smooth, rounded shape and they will feel slabby (hard snow on top of soft snow) and they often sound hollow like a drum.Also, practice slope cuts today before you commit to a slope.


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and:

Today there is a MODERATE danger on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with recent wind deposits.Out of the wind affected areas, the avalanche danger is LOW.The avalanche danger is probably a notch higher in the Provo area mountains where they had more wind and snow.


Uinta Mountains:For Uinta specific information, click on western Uintas on the advisory page or phone 1-800-648-7433.


Provo Mountains

Today there is a CONSIDERABLE danger on any steep slope with recent wind drifts and a MODERATE danger on non wind-affected steep slopes and a LOW danger on slopes less steep than 30 degrees.


Mountain Weather:

Weíve had snow in the mountains every single day for the past two weeks, starting on Christmas Day.And today just might break our string of snowy daysóand if not today, then tomorrow.Itís clear up above the valley fog this morning, but we should have some high clouds for most of the day and we might even get a few snowflakes later in the day.Ridge top temperatures should be in the lower 20ís today and the upper 20ís down at 8,000íOn Friday and Saturday, ridge top temperatures will warm up to near freezing with light winds and then a weak disturbance should bring some clouds on Saturday with a better chance of snow on Monday or Tuesday.


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 did not fly yesterday and today they will fly in Cardiff, Days, Mineral, White Pine, Grizzly Gulch and American Fork.


Park City:

Tomorrow (Friday) Bruce Tremper will give an avalanche talk at 7:00 pm at the Park City High School, room 149.


If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what youíre 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).


Avalanche Awareness Week is January 18-24th and there are a number of events and presentations.For complete details, visit:www.backcountryawareness.com


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 Friday morning.

Thanks for calling.