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, January 06, 2005


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, January 06, 2005, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


There are a few spots left in the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center’s 3-day January 15-17 avalanche class.  Registration is at the Black Diamond retail store.


Current Conditions:

A weak storm system moving across northern Utah is producing more low density snow.  4 to 7” have fallen overnight, and snow totals since Tuesday night are in the one to 1 ½ foot range with about an inch of water.  At 10,000’, free air winds are from the west in the 15 to 20 mph range and temperatures are near 10.   Turning, riding and snowshoeing conditions are excellent in light powder on all aspects.


Avalanche Conditions:

The snowpack is a nightmare, and an incident yesterday is the perfect illustration.  A party skied 3 runs in upper Days with no incident, and then headed over to Main Days.  There, the first skier triggered a very large avalanche, approximately 2 to 4’ deep and over 400’ wide.  The person went the full distance, but amazingly came out on top and was able to ski out.  It’s a northeast facing slope at about 10,400’.  In addition, there is a report of another possible new slide in the Silver Fork Meadow Chutes and yesterday a few sensitive wind slabs were triggered along the ridges. In many drainages, steeper slopes have been skied and boarded with no problems over the past few days.  This pattern totally irritates me.  There are not too many places where the weight of a person could trigger a deep slide, but if you do it could be a monster, and your karma better be good.  With 15 to 20 mph westerly winds expected today, new drifts of wind blown snow will form along the ridgelines.  These soft drifts will be sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on northwest through southeast facing slopes of about 35 degrees and steeper, and on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  This means human triggered avalanches are probable and natural avalanche possible.  Steep south through west facing slopes have a MODERATE danger. 


Mountain Weather:

A weak shortwave is moving across northern Utah and light snowfall will continue throughout most of the day, with 5 to 8” possible.  Winds will remain from the west, in the 15 to 20 mph range across the higher ridges.  Temperatures will be in the upper teens at 8,000’ and in the single digits at 10,000’.  Skies should become partly cloudy by tonight, and winds shift to the southwest.  The next strong Pacific storm system will start to affect the area Friday afternoon, with screeching southwest winds developing and continuing for much of the weekend.  A foot of snow is possible by Saturday afternoon.


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


Snowbird is hosting its 2nd annual Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Week January 31 – February 7th as a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center.  On Friday, February 4th, there will be a fundraising dinner at Snowbird with presentations by Dave Breashears and Apa Sherpa and Lhapka Rita.  On February 5th and 6th, there will be a variety of classes offered at Snowbird.  For more information, go to www.backcountryawareness.com.


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 Friday morning.


Thanks for calling




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: