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

Saturday, January 17, 2004   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 Saturday, January 17, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


The new film "Spirit of Snow" is playing Wednesday, January 21, at 7 pm at the University of Utah Social & Behavioral Science Auditorium.  For more information call Wasatch Touring at 801/359-9361.


Backcountry Awareness Week is January 19-25th and there are a number of events and presentations.  For details visit www.backcountryawareness.com.


For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, click HERE.

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season click HERE.

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, click HERE.


Current Conditions:

If you blinked yesterday, you might have missed the biggest storm we’ve had in 10 days, which laid down anywhere from a few flakes to almost a trace of new snow.  Overnight, we had clear skies and mild temperatures in the mid teen to mid twenties with light, swirly winds generally out of the east. Today will be a warmer version of yesterday, with dry conditions and only high level clouds expected.  Even with the lack of new snow, the backcountry is still very worth the effort, with soft recrystalized powder in shady areas and fast carving foam in wind hammered terrain.


Avalanche Conditions:

Volunteer stability testers have been out in force over the last week, tracking up steep slopes and searching for instabilities in all corners of the Wasatch mountains.  While there have been no significant avalanches reported, don’t be lulled into complacency thinking they are not possible.   The recrystalized powder is now getting deep enough to pack a punch when it sluffs, which could be a concern on steeper, shady slopes.   Going one at a time and watching out for parties below is a good safe travel technique in times like these.  Another remote concern might be old windslabs at higher elevations just below ridgelines.  Skirt these bulging pillows of snow if you can, and avoid stacking multiple people on them at once.


Remember that often times the price we pay for long periods of very stable snow is that when the precipitation returns, so does the avalanche danger.  With our weak surface snow and scattered surface hoar, the next storm significant storm could be quite dangerous.


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

The avalanche danger is low today on all aspects and elevations with human triggered slab avalanches unlikely.  


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


Mountain Weather:

The inversion streak will continue today as a ridge builds over Utah.  Under a clear sky last night, temperatures climbed from a low in the mid teens to a current high in the mid twenties.  Today they are expected to bump up by about 10 degrees over yesterday, with the 8,000’ highs in the mid to lower thirties.   After some light 15-20 mph winds out of the east/SE this morning,   the wind will drop to near clam by the afternoon, then become light and variable from the west this evening.  High clouds will be moving in later today and tomorrow, with the next trough dropping in Sunday night, bringing with it a chance of snow on Monday and 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:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides were grounded due to weather and today they will be in the Cascade Ridge and Provo Peak areas.


You are invited to see the new film "Spirit of Snow" a beautiful film about backcountry skiing as seen through the eyes of a 10th Mountain Division veteran.  Donations requested at the door. 


            Location: University of Utah Social & Behavioral Science Auditorium

            Time: 7pm - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

            For more info - Wasatch Touring - 801/359-9361


The Banff Film Festival, a benefit for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, is coming up next month – February 9th and 10th at Kingsbury Hall.  For ticket information, call Rob at the U of U Outdoor Program at 581-8516.


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 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 Sunday morning.

Thanks for calling.