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, January 04, 2005


Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Tuesday, January 04, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday the mountains picked up a few inches of new snow and there looks to be around 3 inches of new snow as of 5 am. Southerly winds blew yesterday with reports of drifting snow along the ridges. Current winds are around 20 mph from the south east with occasionally stronger gusts. Ridgetop temperatures are in the low 20s.


Avalanche Conditions:

There was one human triggered avalanche reported from backcountry skiers on Monday. This was on an east facing slope in Days Fork at about 8600 feet on a 37 degree slope. It was reported as 2 to 2 feet deep and 100 feet wide. It was triggered by a skier on a convex break over and ran a short distance to a flat runout zone.


There has been information trickling in of other human triggered avalanches that have happened over the past few days as well but failed to get reported at the time of the slides.


Also, yesterdays winds formed some sensitive cornices that broke on their own and were also easily released from skiers.


There will be two problems to watch for today. The first being sensitive cornices and wind drifts that formed yesterday on the lee side of the ridges. The second being avalanches breaking into loose snow that was on the surface about a week ago and is sometimes also associated with a crust. I expect this layer to continue to be active during this next storm cycle. Also, control work at some of the local resorts has pulled out large avalanches that have broken into old snow from November or possibly October. With the various weaknesses with in the snowpack it is advisable to keep the slope angles low. Only put one person on a slope at a time and clear runout zones.


Bottom Line:

The current avalanche danger is MODERATE on northwest through easterly facing slopes approaching 35 degrees and steeper and on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. This means human triggered avalanches are possible. The hazard will rise to Considerable during the day today and into tonight with the additional weight of any new snow. Use caution when approaching cornices and continue to follow safe backcountry protocol today and tomorrow!







Mountain Weather:

Well have mostly cloudy skies with snow tapering off this morning then picking back up around noon. 4-8 is expected during the day. Winds along the ridges will be 15 to 20 mph from the southeast this morning and shifting to the southwest after noon. 8000 highs will be around 25 with 10,000 temperatures about 20 degrees. Snow should continue tonight with 5-10 expected during the evening.


A moist southwest flow should affect the area into early next week.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday because of weather and if possible, will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine and American Fork today.


Registration for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Centers 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 Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling


For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: