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

Friday, December 24, 2004


Good morning, Brett Kobernik here with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, December 24, 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 the Black Diamond retail store.


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


Current Conditions: 

Skies are partly cloudy and temperatures are already warmer then they’ve been in the last 24 hours.  Most stations are up to around 10 degrees at 10,000’.  North winds have continued to blow in the 25 mph range along the ridges with stronger gusts being reported.  It appears that the wind is starting to taper off now.


If you were brave enough to battle the cold yesterday you may have been rewarded with some decent powder.  An average of 2-6 inches of new snow fell in the upper Cottonwoods on Tuesday and Wednesday, improving riding conditions quite a bit.  The Ogden and Uinta areas are reporting 4-7 inches of new snow out of the last storm.  Slopes that still had soft settled snow before this last storm have the best conditions.


Avalanche Conditions:

Wind is the biggest factor from this last storm.  The light density snow is very prone to transport and drifting.  Yesterday there was sluffing of the new snow on steeper slopes initiated from skiers.  There were also fresh wind drifts along the upper ridgelines that would crack while walking on them.  These pockets were small and shallow and didn’t warrant much concern.  With the prolonged duration of the wind over the last 24 hours I would expect to see these drifts more widespread and a bit deeper today.  For the most part these drifts won’t be large enough to bury a person but they might surprise you and could knock you off your feet.  Cracking of the snow is an indicator of sensitive slabs.  With the warming temperatures today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some natural activity in the form of loose snow sluffs on steep sunny slopes.  Also don’t completely rule out our weak layer from November.  If you are traveling in areas with a thinner snowpack you should continue to dig down and take a look at the weak layer.  Remember that if you’re finding loose sugary snow underneath a denser layer of snow you should use caution.


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

There will be a generally LOW avalanche danger in most areas today.  A MODERATE danger on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow still exists.  There are isolated areas of MODERATE danger where slides may break into old snow 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:

Skies should continue to clear with temperatures more seasonal in the mid to upper 20’s at 10,000’.  Winds will decrease and shift to the northwest by this afternoon.  High pressure with warmer temperatures will remain over the area through Saturday. A closed low pressure system will move in sometime early next week.


Yesterday Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Days, Silver and Grizzly Gulch.

Today they will be in the same areas with the addition of White Pine, Mineral and American Fork


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.


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


Thanks for calling!




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: