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 3/25)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html      (Updated 3/12)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 3/27)


Early morning preliminary information by about 6:00 am: 801-364-1591


Avalanche advisory

Sunday, March 28, 2004,   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, March 28, 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 in part by Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort.


Current Conditions:

The final snow showers have tapered off, and skies are clearing.  24 hours snow amounts are 2 to 6” in Big Cottonwood and in the Logan, Ogden, Provo, Park City and Uinta mountains, with upper Little Cottonwood picking up 9”.  This is in addition to Friday’s 9 to 18” storm.  Unfortunately, the west to northwesterly winds also picked up yesterday afternoon, and blew in the 20 to 35 mph range throughout the night, with gusts in the 40’s and 50’s.  Speeds are decreasing this morning, and should drop to below 15 mph at most elevations.  Temperatures are in the mid teens at 10,000’ and the mid 20’s at 7,500’.     


There will certainly be areas of wind damage today, with both scouring down to crusts and dense, cakey wind slabs.  The powder will be most consistent on sheltered, shady slopes at mid and upper elevations.  I expect the low elevations and any sunny slopes to get damp and sloppy by as early as mid day.   


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, only a few sluffs were reported by backcountry travelers.  Explosive work from the resorts produced larger, new snow slides that ran on the hard crusts, and went moderate distances.  


The avalanche danger will be more widespread and trickier today, due to last night’s winds and today’s expected sun.  With lots of snow available for transport, sensitive wind slabs were created.  These dense wind drifts will be most common on mid and upper elevation northeast through east through southeast facing slopes.  With the strong gusts, also expect pockety drifting well off the ridges, at rollovers, and cross loaded around terrain features on all aspects.  Once one of these drifts gets moving, it can entrain all the new snow and run on the icy crust, resulting in a larger, longer running slide.  These drifts may also have some of the characteristics of stubborn hard slabs – letting you get well on to the slope before breaking out above you.    


The second avalanche problem today is heating from direct sun and warming temperatures.  The intense spring sun will rapidly heat the cold, new snow, and both human triggered and natural damp sluffs will be possible on steep slopes.  Again, these sluffs have the potential to run on the icy crust and collect snow all the way down the track, resulting in a more substantial slide.  So once the snow gets damp, it is time to get off of and out from under steep, sunlit slopes. Below about 8,500’, expect the snow to heat and get wet and sloppy on all aspects.  


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park CITY, Provo, and ogden AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  These drifts may be pockety, and out of the wind affected terrain, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.  With day time heating and sun, the avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE on and below steep sunny slopes and on all steep low elevation slopes.


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:

High pressure is building into the area, and skies should become mostly sunny.  Winds will continue to decrease, and end in the 5 to 15 mph range from the north.  High temperatures will be in the low 20’s at 10,000’ and the upper 30’s at 8,000’.  High pressure will dominate through Tuesday, with clear skies, light winds and temperatures warming into the low 40’s at 10,000’.


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 and Cascade.


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 Monday morning.


Thanks for calling.