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/


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Avalanche advisory

Monday, December 20, 2004


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Monday, December 20, 2004, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Free Beacon Rescue Training Centers are now open at Snowbird and the Canyons.For more information go to wasatchbackcountryrescue.org.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly clear skies, mountain temperatures are in the mid to low twenties.With a system passing by to the northeast, the west to northwest winds picked up overnight and the more exposed weather stations show sustained wind speeds of 30-45 mph.The winds pushed into the mid-elevations as well with averages of 10-15mph.As far as snow surface conditions go, I figure calling the backcountry conditions variable might be a bit too kind.


Avalanche Conditions:

Itís been a full week since any reported human trigged activity in the backcountry and most temperature profiles and stability tests seem to back this up, at least in the tri-canyons.In the outlying areas, such as the Provo, Ogden, and Park City mountains, the weak layers, buried about a foot or two down, are a little slower to heal.Regardless, I might still recommend against holding a Chinese downhill on some of the more open slopes in the backcountry, instead opting for more conservative travel rituals.In the meantime, the clear skies over the past week has instigated the development of facets and some surface hoar on the surface of the snowpack in some of the more protected shady slopes Ė something to catalog before the next storm system.Lastly, while thereís not a lot of snow available for transport, the winds may have produced a few new drifts that may crack out under the weight of a person.


Click HERE for a generalized snow profile graphic


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

The avalanche danger is LOW in most areas.A MODERATE danger remains on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, facing the northwest thorough easterly aspects.This danger may be more pronounced outside of the Tri Canyons as well as in steep, shallow, rocky areas.


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


Mountain Weather:

Weíll see a few more clouds streaming in from the northwest today ahead of a series of mostly weak storms lined up for the week.8000í highs will be in the mid-thirties with 10,000í temperatures dropping to the high teens by mid-afternoon.The west to northwest winds should remain strong this morning, dropping to the 15-25 mph range this afternoon.Our best shot of snow looks to be Tuesday night into Wednesday, but these low density amounts should be sub-advisory.Itíll be a return to spring next weekend.Iíll have our mountain weather forecast out by about noon.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork yesterday, and if they get out today, will head back to AF, Cascade, and Snake Creek.

Early birds and snow geeks can catch our more detailed information line at 364-1591.Itís usually out by 6am


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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.


Thanks for calling!



For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: