Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Good Morning.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, December 14, 2004, and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


UDOT will be sighting in the gun in Big Cottonwood Canyon this morning for both Storm Mountain and Argenta, and there will be intermittent road closures.


Bruce Tremper will be giving a free Avalanche Awareness talk at the SLC REI tonight at 7 pm.


Wasatch Backcountry Rescue will be having a fundraiser Saturday night in Park City at Suede.  For more information, go to wasatchbackcountryrescue.org


Current Conditions: 

Skies are clear this morning and temperatures are in the upper 20’s to low 30’s.  Winds are from the west, generally less than 15 mph.  Snow surface conditions are about as rugged as it gets at the lower to mid elevations and on sunny slopes, with a nasty mix of supportable and breakable crusts.  Upper elevation, shady slopes are supportable with a thin layer of recrystalized powder.


Avalanche Conditions:

There was one human triggered slide reported from the backcountry yesterday.  On east facing Pink Pine at about 8,800’, a skier triggered a 1 ½’ deep, 50’ wide slide that ran 400’. 

The snow pack is slowly strengthening, and slides are much harder to trigger.  However, if you do trigger a slide, it will most likely 1 ½ to 2 feet deep and over 100’ wide, dimensions definitely large enough to bury or injure you.  The weakest snow is on the shady slopes and in thin snowpack areas.  Basically, these weak faceted layers are slow to strengthen, and the bottom line is patience.  Give it another day or two - continue to stay off of steep slopes that haven’t slid.


The winds are forecast to increase today, and will start to move and drift the snow, especially along the upper elevation ridgelines.  These fresh drifts will be sensitive to the weight of a person, so avoid any steep slope with recent wind drifts.


Bottom Line (SLC, Park City, Ogden and Provo Area Mountains):

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, facing northwest thorough east or having fresh drifts of wind blown snow.  Other steep slopes have a MODERATE danger.  Daytime heating may produce a few more wet sluffs, so if the snow gets damp and sloppy, get off of and out from under those slopes.


Western Uintas – call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Mountain Weather:

The ridge of high pressure over northern Utah will break down today as a weak cold front moves through.  Clouds will increase today, with a chance of mixed rain and snow showers by evening.  The rain/snow line may start as high as 8,500’.  Highs today will be near freezing at 10,000’ and near 40 at 8,000’.  Winds will shift to the northwest and increase into the 20 to 25 mph range by this afternoon.  Light snow tonight and Wednesday, with 1 to 3” of snow possible.  Temperatures will drop to near 20 degrees tonight.  High pressure will return on Thursday. 


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email to [email protected] or fax 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.


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: