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

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, December 23, 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: 

A dry, cold arctic air mass is moving into northern Utah this morning.  Temperatures are below zero along the higher ridgelines, below 10 at 8,000’ and still dropping.  The northerly winds are generally in the 10 to 20 mph range, a bit faster along the highest ridges, and are forecast to increase later today.  Staying warm and avoiding frostbite will be challenging.


Light snow ahead of the front added another 2 to 4” of 4% fluff overnight, and 2 day totals are in the 3 to 7” range.  Most aspects have “dust on crust”, with the best riding and turning conditions on lower angle slopes or on wind sheltered shady slopes that have a base of smoother, softer snow.


Avalanche Conditions:

Beneath the new snow are widespread hard and icy crusts.  Today, the new snow will sluff easily on steep slopes and I expect the winds to whip up some shallow, soft drifts along the higher ridges.  Once the snow starts to move, it will entrain more snow and slides could run further and faster than expected due to hard bed surfaces.  These slides will have more surprise than punch.  Finally, there may still be an isolated place where a person could trigger a deeper slab avalanche, probably outside the Tri Canyons, on a steep, shallow, rocky slope.


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

The avalanche danger is LOW in most areas.  The danger is MODERATE on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, and there are isolated areas of MODERATE danger on steep north through east facing slopes, especially in thin snowpack areas. 


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


Mountain Weather:

A cold, northerly flow will be over the area through tonight.  Today will be mostly sunny, with the northerly winds increasing this afternoon into the 25 to 35 mph range.  Temperatures will remain in the single digits at 8,000’ and below zero at 10,000’.  On Friday, temperatures will warm rapidly, into the teens at 10,000’ and to near 30 at 8,000’.  The rest of the Christmas weekend will be mostly sunny, dry and warmer.  A change to a stormier pattern is expected for the last week of the year, though the exact timing of events is very uncertain.  I’ll have our mountain weather forecast out by about noon.


Yesterday Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Silver Fork, and today they will be in Silver, Days, Cardiff, Grizzly, American Fork and White Pine.


We do an early morning update around 6am each day on the 364-1591 line.


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.


Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: