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, January 14, 2005


Good morning, this Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Friday, January 14, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.




Current Conditions:

Yesterday the winds blew for most of the day from the northwest averaging 20-30 mph with gusts near 50 easily transporting snow to lee slopes. The winds are still blowing in the 20-30 mph range from the west but the stronger gusts have subsided somewhat. Ridge top temperatures are in the teens.


Avalanche Conditions:

Large and deadly avalanches continued to release early Thursday morning. Activity included at least four large natural avalanches, two avalanches from helicopter skiing test explosives (photo), and a hand full of slides from resort control work. All of these had a 3-5 fracture line depths with the largest in West Monitor (photo) up to 9 feet deep in one section of the crown face. One of these natural avlanches released in skier compacted terrain at one of the local ski areas. These all released due to added weight from wind transported snow over the last 48 hours. The avalanche activity is widespread enough to make most avalanche professionals nervous.


I would expect the activity to slow down today but my own personal pucker factor will not let me toy with any steeper slopes until the avalanche activity stops. I spoke to many people yesterday that agreed that the snowpack is gaining strength but not one of them would consider getting on the big slopes yet. Its like playing with an armed nuclear bomb. You can probably keep it from exploding but do you want to take the chance.


Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains):

A CONSIDERABLE danger still exists in the mountains today on steep north through southeast facing slopes especially in areas with fresh wind deposited snow. Be sure to continue to stay off of and out from underneath steep slopes. Although the chance of triggering a slide is decreasing, the consequences if you do are lethal. Low angle slopes have excellent riding conditions and you can enjoy the day without constant worry that you may trigger an avalanche.





Mountain Weather:

This morning well see partly cloudy skies with westerly winds near 30 mph along the ridges. Ridgetop temperatures will climb to around 20. This afternoon winds should decrease to around 20 mph. A dirty ridge will affect the area through the weekend bringing mostly high clouds. Some light precipitation expected late Saturday through Sunday. Warming will occur early next week.


Yesterday Powderbird Guides were grounded do to strong winds and if they are able to get out today they will operate in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly Gulch, Snake Creek and American Fork.


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 Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman and also 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.


If you are getting into the backcountry and see anything we should know about, give us a call at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected]

We value your information very much.


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: