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

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, December 28, 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:

Temperatures along the ridgelines are in the low 20’s which are as cool as they’ve been in the last 24 hrs.  Winds blew out of the south yesterday with the highest gusts of around 50 mph being recorded late Monday morning.  They have now calmed to around 10-15 mph from a southerly direction.  The snow surface is a mixed bag of crusts, wind slab, and some loose snow.


Avalanche Conditions:

Shallow wind slabs have formed over the last 48 hours on upper elevation slopes.  These seem to be somewhat spotty as not all observers found them yesterday.  Most of these wind slabs were shallow in the 1 to 3 inch range and mainly just breaking around their feet but one in the Provo area was reported to be up to 10” deep.  It is interesting to note that some of these popped out well below the ridge lines.  Overall, they were not as widespread and sensitive as expected due to the fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of loose snow to transport.  With wind and snow in the forecast the avalanche danger will begin to rise tonight and into Wednesday.  With the current snow surface being quite variable, the avalanche pattern could be complex.  Some slopes have very strong snow with an irregular wind affected surface which will anchor the new snow in place.  Other slopes have weak sugary snow on the surface or just under a wind crust and this may lead to avalanching.  Still other slopes have a smooth firm melt freeze crust which may act as a good bed surface if the new snow does not bond well to it.  You will need to evaluate every slope very carefully as conditions change in very short distances.  If you are unaware of what to look for it will be best to stay on low angle slopes over the next few days.


Bottom Line:  Today, the avalanche danger is LOW in most areas.   There are isolated areas with a MODERATE danger where you might trigger a small wind slab.  You might find these on upper elevation slopes on a variety of aspects and they may be well of the ridge lines.  Also keep in mind the danger will be on the rise with more wind and snow over the next few days.



Mountain Weather:

The strong low pressure system off of California will push a storm into northern Utah late tonight producing snow through tomorrow.  Today skies will be mostly cloudy with a few snow showers.  Temperatures will be in the low 30’s at 8000’ and low 20’s at 10,000’.  Winds will be light this morning and increasing late this afternoon and evening from the south west.  A winter storm watch is in effect tonight through Thursday.  A series of storms is expected to affect Utah later in the week.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday due to weather.  Today, weather permitting, they will fly in Silver, Days, Cardiff, Mineral and American Fork with home runs in Grizzly & 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.


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


Thanks for calling




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: