Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: Utah State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.

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Avalanche advisory

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 29, 2005, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


This Friday, January 28th, Brett Kobernik will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at Milosport in Orem at 7 pm.


Current Conditions:

A moist air mass is over northern Utah this morning, but the very light winds are struggling to get any of that moisture up into the mountains.  As of 6 am, only an inch or less of new snow has fallen.  The southeast winds are mostly in the 5 to 10 mph range, but across the highest peaks and along the PC ridgeline averages are 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  Temperatures are in the 20’s.  Thursday’s new snow significantly improved the turning and riding conditions, especially on shady mid and upper elevation slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, skiers easily released shallow wind drifts with slope cuts in the Ogden and Provo area mountains, which were 6 to 12” deep and 30 to 75’ wide.  These soft wind slabs and a few sensitive cornices were created by several hours of stronger winds the night before.  By now, most of Thursday’s new snow should be well bonded, but be sure to put in a couple of slope cuts at the top of steep slopes, especially in areas with 6 or more inches of new snow or any slope with fresh wind drifts.  As the day warms up, wet loose sluffs and “push-a-lanches” will be possible on steep lower and mid elevation slopes of all aspects, especially if the sun peeks out or the clouds thin.


And finally, don’t let your guard down if you decide to travel on big, steep slopes, especially those that didn’t slide during the January avalanche cycle.  Travel one at a time, have an escape route planned, and avoid shallow snow pack areas where it still may be possible to trigger a deeper slide.


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

Most slopes have a LOW avalanche danger, and there are only isolated places where a person could trigger a slide.  The hazard may rise to MODERATE today on any steep slope that gets loaded with a fresh drifts of wind blown snow, with daytime heating, or in areas that receive more than 4 inches of additional snow today. 


Mountain Weather:

The splitting storm system moving through the region is once again leaving northern Utah out of the main flow.  The mountains will have periods of snow today, with 2 to 4” possible.  Winds will be light, generally less than 15 mph from the southeast and east. High temperatures will be near 30 at 8,000’ and near 20 at 10,000’.  Tonight, mostly cloudy skies, with scattered snow showers and the winds remaining light and shifting to the northeast.  Lows will be in the upper teens.  Sunday will be mostly cloudy, with a slow drying trend.  A ridge of high pressure will redevelop after the weekend, and the next chance for an adjustment to a stormier pattern is about a week away.


Yesterday Powderbird Guides were not able to fly, and most likely will not get out today, but if they do will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral, Grizzly Gulch 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, 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.




If you see anything we ought to know about please call and leave a message at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected], remember we can’t be everywhere at once, so we depend on people just like you. 


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: