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

Tuesday, February 07, 2005
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, February 8th 2005.
(Updated at 10 am)

Current Conditions:
Most mountain locations picked up another 3-6 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, with Alta receiving the most at 9 inches.Storm totals are around a foot in the Ogden Mountains, 14-16 inches in the Provo mountains, 16 inches along the Park City Ridgeline, and 24Ē at Alta.The very light density snow has settled to less then a foot in many areas.People reported good riding conditions from Monday but mentioned that they could feel the old irregular snow surface underneath in areas that didnít receive the most snow.Current ridge top temperatures are quite cool in the single digits at almost all locations and winds are light from the northwest.

Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday there were reports that the new snow sluffed and there were some spotty soft slab avalanches.The weakest layer currently is within the light density snow that the mountains received since Sunday.The most significant slab avalanche (picture 1, picture 2) was in the Provo area and was 100 feet wide, averaged 14Ē deep and ran about 500 feet vertical.It was on an east facing 39 degree slope and was in an area where the winds drifted the new snow into a slab.

Winds picked up slightly from the west and northwest late yesterday afternoon and into the evening and may have transported the very light snow forming some soft wind slabs along the upper ridges.I have received a number of reports as of 9 am of these slabs releasing naturally overnight with quite widespread activity in the Provo area.These slabs are also sensitive to the weight of a skier. Careful slope cutting should be an effective tool to test the stability today.Other stability tests such as shovel shears and compression tests should also easily reveal any instability you may find.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden, and Provo mountains):
Today there is a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep upper elevation terrain with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.This means human triggered avalanches are possible.If you donít know what a slab is or you are unable to determine if a slab exists you need to stay off of steep slopes.Sluffing may also be a slight problem yet today.The danger of wet avalanching will rise to MODERATE on southeast through southwest aspects as the sun heats the new snow throughout the day.Stay off of and out from underneath these slopes as they heat up.

Mountain Weather:
Today weíll see partly cloudy skies.Ridgetop temperatures will be around 10 degrees and around 20 at 8,000 feet.Winds will be light from the northwest.

The next few days will bring partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies with fairly light wind speeds.Temperatures will gradually warm during the week and will be up to near 30 degrees along the ridges by Friday.There will be some moisture moving into the area by the weekend but it doesnít look like it will produce much snow at this time.

Powderbids did not fly yesterday.They will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly Gulch, American Fork and the Cascade ridge in Provo.

We really appreciate any information you are willing to give us.You donít 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 is hosting another event.Tickets are now on sale for the annual Banff Film Festival, February 16 & 17, at Kingsbury Hall. All proceeds benefit the Utah Avalanche Center.  For 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.

I will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at the SLC Milosport on Friday, February 11th, at 7pm.There will be some prizes awarded at the end for answering some random avalanche questions.

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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: