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 31, 2004


Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, December 31, 2004, and its 7:30 in the morning. 


Current Conditions:

Yesterday temperatures cooled to around 15 degrees at 10,000’ with continued southerly winds around 25 mph with higher gusts. It is still windy this morning at all elevations.  The upper ends of the Cottonwood Canyons picked up 3 to 4 inches during the day yesterday with around 8 inches overnight in the Logan area mountains. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, backcountry travelers intentionally kicked off several wind slabs, mostly along the upper elevation ridges in places that got the most snow over the last two days. These areas include places like the upper parts of Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Park City ridgeline.  They also reported some natural avalanche activity from yesterday morning.  These avalanches mainly broke within the new snow and on some of the old crusts.  Most of the problems are above 9,000’ and on slopes with recent wind drifts.


The bigger news is that the storm today and tonight should make things very interesting.  Yesterday, many places did not have quite enough weight to get a natural avalanche cycle going, but tonight’s storm may be enough to push many slopes over the edge.  Click HERE for a current snow profile graphic.


Bottom Line:

Today, the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE, and will most likely rise to HIGH by this afternoon, tonight and on New Year’s Day.  We will most likely upgrade the Special Avalanche Advisory to an Avalanche Warning this afternoon as the storm intensifies.  People without excellent avalanche skills should avoid avalanche terrain today, tonight and tomorrow.  This means that you should stay off of, and out from underneath, slopes of about 35 degrees or steeper today and around 30 degrees or less for tonight and New Year’s Day.


Mountain Weather:

Strong south winds will continue to blow in the 30’s with temperatures around 20 degrees at 10,000’.  Snow should fall throughout the day with heavy snow this afternoon and evening as a cold front moves through around dinner time.  Winds will shift from the south to the southwest and continue to blow hard.  Snow will continue into Saturday with up to 2’ feet forecasted in areas favored by a southwest flow.


There will be a slight break on Saturday with winds decreasing.  Snow showers may continue during the day.  Yet another storm should arrive around Saturday night and last into Monday.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday because of weather and most likely will not fly today.  If they do they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, and American Fork.


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.


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 Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: