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

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 08, 2005, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


UDOT will be doing avalanche control in Provo Canyon today at Deer Creek around 11:00 am and in the central canyon around mid afternoon. 


UDOT will do avalanche control in the Cottonwood Canyons this morning.


Current Conditions:

The big news is that the winds are blowing hard enough to tip over a tractor and will continue to do so for the rest of today.  Photos from yesterday. Along the exposed ridge tops they are blowing around 60 mph from the southwest and gusting to 80 and they will probably increase during the day.  Temperatures have warmed to around 20 degrees.  It’s hard to tell how much snow fell overnight because it’s drifted so much, but it looks like 6-9 inches in the Cottonwood Canyons and Park City.  The snow is dense and stiff with lots of graupel.  In other words, the snow that everyone was calling the best of the season these past few days is gone, gone, gone.  Literally.  You may have to go to Wyoming to find it.


Avalanche Conditions:

We have an avalanche warning in effect for all the mountains of Utah today with a HIGH avalanche danger on, or beneath, any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  This includes low elevation terrain, so people should be careful even hiking or sledding above their houses in the foothills today.  In the non-wind drifted slopes, well, you might have to go to another state to find one.  With winds this strong, wind deposits tend to be much farther down off the ridges than normal and the mid elevation, steep terrain may be the most dangerous today and especially in areas with a thin snowpack.

Click HERE for snow profile graphic.


Wind slabs look smooth and rounded.  They often feel slabby or punchy but today they could feel very hard and sometimes sound hollow, like a drum.


As for yesterday’s avalanche activity, an out-of-bounds skier at Brighton suffered a badly broken leg when they jumped and hit a rock and they also triggered a small avalanche.  It’s unknown whether the avalanche caused the fall or it occurred after the fall.  Also, natural avalanches occurred on several slopes from the high winds yesterday afternoon including Clayton Peak near Brighton, the Y-couloir in mid Little Cottonwood Canyon and reported skier-triggered avalanche on north-facing Kessler Peak.


Bottom Line:

The current avalanche danger is HIGH today on, or beneath, any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  These conditions should persist throughout the weekend.  In non-wind loaded terrain—if you can find any—the danger is CONSIDERABLE.


Mountain Weather:

Did I mention that it might be a bit blustery today?  Ridge top winds should continue to nuke today around 70 mph with gusts around 100.  We may get a bit of a break in the snow this morning, but we will probably get a foot of dense snow overnight into Sunday with continued strong winds.  Ridge top temperatures will stay in the lower 20’s


For the extended forecast, continued strong southwest winds, which should calm down to a measly 30 mph with gusts to 50 on Sunday and continued snow showers.  By Monday, ridge top temperatures should warm to near 30 with reasonable southwest ridge top winds.


If you’re getting out and see anything we should know about, remember we can’t be everywhere at once.  We depend on people just like you.  Please leave a message on our answer machine at:  524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or fax to 801-524-6301, or email to [email protected]


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in Cardiff, American Fork, and Emma Ridges and will not fly today.


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.


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.


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.


Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling




For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: