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/


To receive automated e-mails of this advisory click HERE.


Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, December 22, 2004, and its 7:30 in the morning. 


Registration for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center’s 3-day January avalanche class is now being taken at Black Diamond retail.


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


Current Conditions: 

I guess it’s just my native Montana optimism.  For most of my life, my usual response when people ask how it is: “The snow is always good, it’s just that some days are better than others.”   For instance, on a day like yesterday I would say something like, “Well, there may be variable, lurch-and-jerk crusts and wind damage on most slopes with rock-hard, slide-for-life sun crusts on south facing slopes, but hey, at least it’s cold.  And looking through the observations for yesterday, there are phrases like, “Skiing is even worse than I thought,” and “Poor even by Eastern standards.”  Remember that if you are headed for steep, south facing slopes today, the sun crusts are probably harder than I have ever seen them, so you should bring an ice axe or whippets to prevent a dangerous slide-for-life.  But for you other optimists, I should mention that you can still find some soft, settled, recrystallized snow on some of the very wind and sun sheltered slopes.  Overnight, a mighty two inches of light snow fell in Little Cottonwood Canyon but more like a skiff to an inch elsewhere, which should improve conditions a tiny fraction.  Temperatures this morning are very cold—just below zero on the ridge tops, but at least there’s a 15 mph wind from the north, which will increase to 20 or 25 from the north tonight.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanches seem pretty tame these days.  We have not heard about any avalanche activity for about a week.  The one we reported on yesterday’s forecast from the Provo area mountains turned out to be just a spindrift sluff that someone mistook for something more serious.


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

The avalanche danger is LOW in most areas.  There’s pockets of MODERATE danger on steep north through east facing slopes, especially in thin snowpack areas plus the usual slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. 


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


Mountain Weather:

A cold, unstable flow will continue to come out of the north today with partly cloudy skies and very light snow showers that probably won’t add up to much more than an inch.  Ridge top temperatures will be very cold, right around zero with winds from the north 10-20 mph.  Down at 8,000’, the high today should be around 10 degrees with the overnight low around 5 degrees.  Ridge top winds will pick up and blow harder tonight and tomorrow 20-25 from the north and ridge top temperatures will drop briefly to around - 4 degrees.  For the extended forecast, temperatures will warm dramatically on Friday and we will have a sunny Christmas day and the day after Christmas with ridge top temperatures just under freezing.  We should get another storm around Tuesday with most of the energy going through California.   I’ll have our mountain weather forecast out by about noon.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in Cardiff, Days, Grizzly and American Fork and today they will be in the same areas and possibly in Silver Fork and White Pine.


Early birds and snow geeks can catch our more detailed information line at 364-1591.  It’s 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 Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: