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:


To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day free of charge, visit: http://www.mailermailer.com/x?oid=16351h          

For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm      (Updated 2/18)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html      (Updated 2/20)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 2/18)


Avalanche advisory

Friday, February 20, 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 Friday, February 20, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.  This forecast is brought to you in partnership with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported by the Uinta Brewing Company.


American Fork Canyon will most likely be open by this afternoon.


Current Conditions:

After getting all hot and soggy, the snowpack cooled off yesterday with dropping temperatures and a fresh coating of new snow.  The Tri Canyons picked up 8 -11” while the Ogden and Provo mountains received 2-3” during a fierce little upper elevation storm with gusty winds.  Today’s weather will be on a clearing trend as high pressure pushes the moisture out of the area by this afternoon with light winds and highs of around 34 degrees at 8,000’.  The turning and riding conditions should be slightly better than a day at the office, with creamy powder in the wind sheltered areas.


Avalanche Conditions:

The past week has had a roller coaster of avalanche conditions, from wet slides to hard slabs and now we can add wind slabs on top of that.  The snow and wind shut down around 5:00pm yesterday evening, but not before creating 1- 2’ deep wind deposits along the ridgelines.  This wind transported snow fell on a crust from our warm weather a few days ago and will be sensitive to a human trigger.  Cracking and 50’ wide shallow soft slabs were common in the backcountry yesterday and will still be active today.  You’ll want to avoid those large, puffy looking pillows of hollow sounding snow just below ridgelines.  The moderate temperatures and strong winds have created crisp, snappy cornices that will be effective backcountry bombs, but may break back further than expected.  These wind slabs should stabilize fairly quickly with today’s warming trend, but you’ll want to give them a wide berth just in case.


Another area of concern is the widely differing snowpack depth in the Wasatch mountains.  If you are getting into lower elevations, especially on the eastern side of the range, be alert for a shallow snowpack with much weaker snow.


Photo: Nature’s four-legged beacons in training.


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

There is a moderate danger of human triggered avalanches on slopes steeper than 35 degrees in upper elevation terrain with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  In wind sheltered areas with slopes less steep than 35 degrees, there is a low danger.


Bottom Line for the OGden AREA MOUNTAINS:

Due to the stronger winds, the Ogden area mountains will have a considerable danger in steep, wind exposed areas which should decrease to moderate by the end of the day.


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:

An active storm pattern is in store for the next two weeks, with the first pulse expected to arrive tomorrow evening, followed by a second on Sunday night.  With a southerly flow, the Provo area mountains should be favored as Southern Utah receives most of the moisture.  Through next Wednesday, daytime highs will be in the lower 30’s with nighttime lows ranging from the mid teens to 20 degrees.  Partly and mostly cloudy skies will dominate the region with daily snowfall expected and increasing winds by mid week.


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


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides were grounded for the last two days and will be flying in Mineral Fork, Cardiff, Days, Silver Fork, Grizzly Gulch, Snake Creek and American Fork today.


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. 


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory Saturday morning.

Thanks for calling.