Saturday, January 24, 2004, 7:30 am
morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the
This is Backcountry Awareness Week. Today and Sunday there will be a series of avalanche and backcountry survival classes at Snowbird. For details on these and other events visit www.backcountryawareness.com.
There is finally a change is in the air, with the cold front currently in the Pacific Northwest forecast to reach northern Utah by this evening. Ahead of the front, skies are partly cloudy this morning, and winds are increasing. They are from a westerly direction, in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts into the 40’s. The hourly averages across the highest peaks are 35 to over 40 mph. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 20’s. Wind sheltered, shady, low traffic slopes still have soft, recrystalized snow, but much of the terrain has been hammered into a hard surface by the sun, wind or people.
For today, the snowpack continues to be mostly stable, and the greatest danger will be the winds drifts that are forming at mid and upper elevations. While I expect these winds drifts to be shallow and small, they will be sensitive and any recent winds drift should be avoided on steep slopes.
We’re entering the storm cycle with a widespread layer of weak, near surface facets on the snow surface, with pockets of surface hoar. In some areas, the weakest snow is on the shady slopes at mid to low elevations. It is important to note that once you get out of the Salt Lake and Park City mountains, the Ogden, Provo and Uinta mountains have a weaker snowpack, with a thicker layer of near surface facets and more wide spread surface hoar, both of which extend over ridge crests and to higher elevations. Today’s moderate to strong winds could be helpful in destroying some of this weak surface snow.
We may have an unusual avalanche pattern developing, with the weakest snow at the mid to lower elevations, on mid slope rollovers, and in wind sheltered terrain. Another complicating factor is that the stability will differ greatly between the heavily boarded, skied, and snow machined slopes throughout the range and the less traveled slopes. Tomorrow, plan to keep your slope angles low and use test slopes to investigate the new instabilities.
Line for the Wasatch Range, including the
The avalanche danger is low today, and human triggered avalanche are unlikely. But as always, avoid any recent deposits of wind drifted snow. With wind and snow in the forecast, the avalanche danger may rise significantly tonight and tomorrow.
incoming Pacific cold front should reach the area around midnight, with the
best threat of snow along and behind the front on Sunday. Winds today will be in the 15 to 30 mph range,
from a westerly direction. Highs will be
in the upper 30’s at 8,000’ and the low 20’s at 10,000’. Light snowfall may start by late afternoon,
and continue through Sunday. The
For specific digital forecasts for the
Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in White Pine, Mineral,
The Banff Film Festival, a benefit for the Friends
The Friends of the
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.