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

Monday, February 09, 2004,   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, February 09, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


The Banff Film Festival, a benefit for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, is tonight and tomorrow night at Kingsbury Hall.  Tickets are now available at Kingsbury Hall, REI, The Outdoor Recreation Program or any Art-Tix Outlet.  For more information, call Rob at the U of U Outdoor Program at 581-8516.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center are offering a three day avalanche class February 14-16.  For more information or to sign up, contact Black Diamond Equipment at (801) 278-0233.  2092 E. 3900 S.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly cloudy skies, temperatures are in the low teens and single digits at 8,000’ and 10,000’.  The winds are just about calm under the northerly flow, with the most exposed anemometers reading less than 10mph.  Storm totals across the range from Saturday’s storm look like 10-16” in Big and Little Cottonwood and about 8” in the outlying areas.  Riding and turning conditions are excellent, with the best snow found on the north side of the compass and in more sheltered areas.   


Avalanche Conditions:

Most of the problems from yesterday were in the lower elevations as the benches even received about 8-10” of snow in favored spots.  One party touring up by Mt. Olympus found quite sensitive soft slabs and sluffs about a foot deep and 40’ wide running fast and entraining lots of snow.  These were on 35 degree north and northwest slopes, where the soft slabs and sluffs ran above the weaker surface snow.  Elsewhere, in the foothills above Farmington, wet ‘push-alanches’ were common in the light density snow where the sun had dampened the snow surface.  In the mid and upper elevations, sluffing seemed to be the only issue on the northerly and sheltered steeper slopes; however, they were able to entrain quite a bit of snow and pack a punch while mid-track. 


For today, my concerns will be with continued sluffing on the steeper slopes and the possibility of finding a remnant wind drift from Saturday’s strong southerly pre-frontal winds.  Still tickling my spine, however, are the buried weak layers from January, now buried about 1-2’ down and perhaps most problematic on northwest-east facing slopes between 7500’ and 9800’.  These, as well as isolated areas where the snowpack is unusually shallow and therefore weak, are still lingering as possible booby traps in certain areas.   Frankly, they make me uncomfortable. 


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, provo and OGden AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is moderate today in wind drifted areas at all elevations steeper than 35 degrees.  In sheltered areas, the danger is LOW.


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

Logan: click HERE or call 435-797-4146


Mountain Weather:

It’ll be mostly cloudy with isolated snow showers today turning to partly cloudy by afternoon.  8000’ temperatures will be in the teens with 10,000’ temps in the upper single digits.  Winds will be light from the north and then northeast.  Next chance of snow looks to be Tuesday night into Wednesday.  


For specific digital forecasts for the Salt Lake, Provo or Ogden mountains, CLICK HERE.


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday and today they will be in American Fork, Snake Creek, Cascade Ridge, and the Bountiful Sessions mountains.


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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.