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:



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Monday, November 08, 2004 6:30 pm         


Good afternoon, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Monday, November 8th, 2004, and it’s 6:30 pm.  We’ll be issuing intermittent afternoon bulletins into mid November.   Come check out our new ‘Know Before You Go’ avalanche talks geared for the younger backcountry rider at the SLC REI Tuesday night at 7pm and again at the Sandy REI this Saturday also at 7pm.


Current Conditions: 

After a week of high pressure, we’re now feeling the effects of the first of a few weather disturbances to bring rain and snow showers to the mountains.   The good news is that some weather stations are reporting of up to a half inch of water.  The bad news is that the rain/snow line has been around 9500’.  With the center of the first cutoff Low to the south and west of us, ridgetop winds have been out of the southeast, blowing in the 20-30mph range, gusting to 50.  Snow surface conditions have taken a turn for the worse, and no doubt you’ll find sloppy or snow-on-sloppy conditions everywhere but on upper elevation north through easterly aspects. 


Avalanche Conditions

No news is good news and we’ve had little to report as things have quieted down since early last week.  We’ve kept an eye on the development of both surface hoar and recrystalized snow on the upper elevation shady slopes in the past week, but suspect that the winds, warming temperatures and rain showers have started to stall or decay these layers.  We’ll have to stay tuned.   So as the rain/snow line lowers to just below 8000’ tonight and tomorrow, any new snow is likely to bond well to the old snow surfaces, with the possible exception of the highest elevation shady slopes.  The trick will be to see how much snow arrives and then falling back to your old bag of tricks in dealing with new-snow-only instabilities.   The forecasted strong southerly winds tonight and tomorrow are likely to drift what snow falls overnight, so you might want to temper the ‘ski it if it’s white’ mentality while we see how this storm pans out.  And lastly, without a refreeze tonight, we lose our window in the morning to avoid any rain-induced wet activity on the sunny aspects and mid- elevations.  The danger will likely be greater at the higher elevations in the Provo mountains as they should pickup more snow on this southerly flow. 


As a reminder, the unopened ski areas are not doing control work, and are just as dangerous as the backcountry.


Mountain Weather:

Essentially taking the table scraps from these southerly storms, we may pick up a couple inches tonight and then a few more tomorrow.  The winds should be out of the southeast and strong tonight and into the morning before quieting down and veering to the west and then northwest.  8000’ highs will be in the mid to upper thirties on Tuesday with 10,000’ temps in the mid-twenties.   The second cutoff Low should bring more precipitation on a southerly track by later in the week, with another storm lined up for Sunday/Monday.


If you are getting out, drop us a line or an email with any reports or observations from the backcountry.  You can leave us a message at 524-5304 or 1 800-662-4140.  Email us at [email protected], or send 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. 

Thanks for calling.