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 receive automated e-mail of these advisories, click HERE



Wednesday, November 17, 2004 5:30 pm         


Good afternoon, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Wednesday, November 17th, 2004, and it’s 2:30 pm.  We’ll be issuing intermittent afternoon bulletins through the weekend, and then we will go to a regular morning schedule by Thanksgiving.  


Current Conditions: 

Thursday will be the last day of warmth before icebox temperatures arrive on Friday.  There are about 6 inches of good quality recrystallized powder on wind sheltered, shady slopes above about 9,000’, best if you can find an untracked slope.  Most other slopes are sun and heat affected, with a mix of supportable to breakable crusts, some of which soften nicely after they warm for good spring like conditions.


Avalanche Conditions:

Tricky little wind slabs continue to be the main avalanche problem.  On Monday, several more were purposely skier triggered during control work in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Tuesday, a few more were released with explosive control work.  These hard slabs are about 20 to 50’ wide and averaging 6 to 12” deep, though one was up to 2’.  They seem to be in isolated spots off the ridgelines, and definitely large enough to take a person for a ride.  They are smooth, hard, and maybe hollow sounding.   Damp sluffs will be possible one last time on Thursday with day time warming.


A few inches of light density snow are expected Friday, and sluffing may become a problem on the shady, upper elevation slopes.  These slopes have weak, recrystalized snow on the surface, and the new snow will bond poorly to this.


Mountain Weather:

A high pressure system over the intermountain west through Thursday will give one more day of spring like weather.  Highs Thursday will once again be in the mid 30’s to upper 40’s.  A cold front will move through Thursday night and Friday, plunging the temperatures into the single digits by Saturday.  On Friday, highs will be in the mid 20’s at 8000’ and the mid teens at 10,000’.  Winds will be from the northwest, in the 10 to 20 mph range, and 3 to 6” of low density snow are possible.


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.