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:


For photos of avalanches and avalanche activity, 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 4/2)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 3/31)


Avalanche INFORMATION/afternoon update

Friday, April 23, 2004  4:00 pm


Good afternoon, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with an afternoon update.  Today is Friday, April 23 and it’s 4pm.  This information is time sensitive and will expire by Saturday evening.  Click here to see our standard end of the year bulletin which has links to weather sites and information as well as some general tips and guidelines for the spring avalanche season. 


Current Conditions:

High pressure came in like a hurricane.  Under clear skies, the east and northeasterly winds continued to be strong through the morning but died off rather rapidly by about 10am and are now less than 10mph.  The temperatures are today’s big ticket item: Free air temps at 10,500’ pushed to 40 degrees as 8500’ highs reached 50.   At this point, we’re hoping the snow surface conditions rapidly transition from a character-enhancing breakable/supportable crust to creamy supportable corn within a few days.  


Avalanche Conditions:

Today was likely a lull in the avalanche activity as we transition from active wind slabs to tomorrow’s heat-induced wet activity.  You’ll want an early start on Saturday as 8000’ temps soar to just above 50 degrees and 10,000’ temps rise to just above freezing.  Unlike today, the winds will be light and won’t be much help to stave off the intense heating.  So the standard spring mantra applies: as the snow softens and starts to become unsupportable, get off and out from underneath steep sun exposed slopes.  The wet activity will move with the clock, starting mid-morning on the east, moving to the south by midday, and then culminating on the west-facing slopes by afternoon.  It will also be possible to get wet snow moving on the mid and low elevation northerly slopes as they become saturated as well.  Because we have a limited amount of info coming in this time of year and are updating things in the afternoon, we’ll continue to relay what we know regarding weather and avalanches.  In light of this, we won’t be putting a danger rating on the advisory and will leave the bottom line to you.  


Lastly, remember that except for Snowbird, all of the ski areas are closed – therefore, you’ll need to treat your favorite resort runs as the backcountry. 


Mountain Weather: 

A strong ridge of high pressure will continue to develop over the intermountain west through the weekend and into early next week.  Today was only the start of a strong warming trend that will push ridgetop temps to 50 degrees by late Tuesday.  Winds will remain light through early next week. 

Backcountry snow and avalanche information is still useful to us.  So if you’re still getting out and see anything of interest, leave us a message at 524-5304, 1 800-662-4140, drop us an email at [email protected], or a fax to 524-6301.  The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.