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

Sunday, February 06, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, February 06 2005, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
While cooling temps off a little, yesterday’s dry, weak cold front provided little more than a wiggle in the wind direction and a few mid-level clouds.  The blanket of clouds dissipated and this morning under clear skies, mountain temperatures are in the low teens.  Winds along the highest ridges maxxed out near twenty gusting to 40 out of the west overnight, but have since calmed to less than 15mph as they’ve shifted to the southwest.   There’s still plenty of time to work on your crust skiing and riding before the storm hits tonight. 

Avalanche Conditions:
While there just isn’t that much snow to move around, Friday night’s westerly winds did produce a couple avalanches in Primrose Cirque above Aspen Grove in the Provo Mountains.  One natural pulled out early Saturday morning on a northerly aspect at 8800’ that was up to 2’ deep and 200’ wide.  The debris narrowly missed engulfing a tent of some winter campers down below.  A few hours later, a climber ascending above the natural pulled out another wind pocket, taking a 30’ ride, but escaped unharmed.  This slide was on an easterly facing slope at 9600’ and up to a foot and a half deep by 75’ wide.  I suspect that both of these slides failed on weak faceted grains sitting on old bed surfaces from the last avalanche cycle and may be a precursor to how sensitive the avalanches will be once the storm rolls in tonight.  It also illustrates how the winds can be mischievous in finding snow to move despite only mostly dry conditions since the second week of January.  

In general today, the cooler temps and increasing clouds should keep the lid on any wet activity and the dry snow problems will be limited to some possible sluffing on some of the steeper shady slopes and an unlikely odd wind pocket from yesterday.  The gig for today will be to take a look at the snow surface conditions to help gauge how well the new snow will bond when it arrives. 

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden, and Provo mountains):
The avalanche danger is LOW on most slopes today.  While unlikely, you might still find a wind drift in steeper exposed terrain. 

Mountain Weather:
Today we’ll see increasing clouds ahead of tonight’s storm.  Winds should be light and southwesterly, picking up to 20mph by late afternoon.  8000’ temps will be near freezing with 10,000’ temps near 20.  It’s about time.  This storm moves late tonight and should last through Tuesday with early estimated totals of a foot and a half or so by then. 

Yesterday Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Mineral and AF.  Today they’ll be in American Fork, Cascade and the Bountiful Sessions.

We really appreciate any information you are willing to give us.  We don’t hear from you enough.  You don’t have to be an avalanche expert to give us some observations so please call and leave a message on our answering machine at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].

Our partner, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center,   Tickets are now on sale for the annual Banff Film Festival, February 16 & 17, at Kingsbury Hall. All proceeds benefit the Utah Avalanche CenterFor more information call 801/581-8516 or go to www.banffmountainfestivals.ca. 

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center also have some openings left in their February 3-day avalanche class, the 19-21st.  Registration is at Black Diamond retail.

Brett Kobernik will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at the SLC Milosport on Friday, February 11th, at 7pm.

Bruce Tremper will give a talk called the Science of Avalanches at REI on Tuesday, February 15th at 7:00 pm.


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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.

Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: