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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Saturday, November 27, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Saturday, November 27th, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


There are two upcoming benefits for our partners The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  On Tuesday, November 30th, Howie Garber will be giving an adventure sports and nature photography slide show at 7pm at the Ft. Douglas Post Theater on the U of U Campus.  There is a $10 donation requested.  Then on Thursday December 2nd, Brewvies will have their 4th annual Ski Bum Movie Night with two showings of TGR’s latest film “Soul Purpose” plus the film “Sinners”, first at 7pm and then at 9pm. 


Current Conditions: 

A strong Pacific storm system that’s currently on our doorstep is primed to produce significant snowfall through tomorrow.  The first few flakes have already started to fall in the mountains.  Overnight the winds decreased to less than 15 mph as they backed to the southwest, advecting warm air that has slowly increased temperatures into the mid-teens and low twenties along the ridgelines and at the mid-elevations.   Riding conditions are good from the 6-12” that fell Thursday night. 


Avalanche Conditions:

The honeymoon’s over.  We’ve had a month and a half of either Low or ‘manageable’ avalanche conditions, but that’s history.  Thursday night’s snow coupled with Friday’s winds produced numerous human triggered avalanches and a few naturals, the most notable in the tri-canyons reportedly being the south face of Tri-county peak, reportedly 1-3’ deep and 300’ wide.  Collapsing of the new load onto the newly buried weak layers often triggered avalanches ‘remotely’ up to a couple hundred feet away, which would often trigger adjacent slopes.  Most were 8-16” deep and 50-200’ wide, with some up to 2-3’ in heavily drifted areas.   These were generally localized to steep north through southeast facing upper elevation areas that picked up the most snow or were more prone to drifting throughout the day.  We just didn’t have enough of a punch to create widespread avalanching, but with a foot of new snow forecast for this afternoon and tonight and another foot by tomorrow morning, things should start to come unglued. 


For today, avalanche conditions will remain tricky.  While I don’t expect any natural activity, I would expect lingering instabilities that should still allow for human triggered avalanches and a continued pattern of remotely triggered slides.  Collapsing and cracking in the snow should tell the tale, and cornice dropping will give some indications as well.  As a last tip, with remote and sympathetically triggered slides, rethink your ‘safe’ zones at the bottom of the hill where there might be multiple starting zones for avalanches.


Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE danger on any steep slope with recent wind drifts.  This means human triggered avalanches will still be possible.  The danger will be most pronounced on mid to upper elevation north through southeast slopes.  As the snow starts piling up, the danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE. 


Mountain Weather:

A strong upper level trof should produce significant snowfall through tomorrow afternoon.  We’re starting to see the first few flakes coming in on a southwest flow this morning and the Provo and Park City areas should be favored until the flow shifts to the northwest late this afternoon.  Areas favored by a northwest flow may see up to a couple of feet or more by tomorrow midday.  Ridgetop winds should be 15-20 mph both pre and post frontal with gusty conditions expected around dinner time.  8000’ highs will be in the low twenties with 10,000’ temps in the mid to upper teens, before plunging to the single digits tonight.


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. 

I will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday morning, and thanks for calling.