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

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, February 9th 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Brett Kobernik will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at the SLC Milosport this Friday, February 11th, at 7pm.  There will even be some free swag awarded at the end for answering random avalanche questions.

Current Conditions:
A strong ridge of high pressure is building in over northern Utah this morning.  Skies are clear, and temperatures are starting to warm at the upper elevations, and are in the low teens at 10,000’.  Overnight, the northwesterly winds increased across a few of the highest peaks, averaging 20 to 25 mph.  Elsewhere, wind speeds have been less than 15 mph.  Turning and riding conditions are excellent on most shady slopes in the 12 to 20” of settled powder from the recent storm, but many of the sunny slopes are now crusted. 

Avalanche Conditions:                                                                            Yesterday, there was more evidence visible from the natural soft slab and sluff avalanche cycle that occurred Monday evening, with the most widespread activity in the Provo area mountains. (Provo sluffs; Provo slabs)  These shallow new snow instabilities rapidly settled out, and yesterday lots of steep slopes were traveled with no trouble. 

Today, there will be two problems.  First, I expect a few new wind slabs were formed at the higher elevations, and these will be sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes.  Second, and much more widespread, will be the increasing danger of wet loose sluffs as the snow heats up.  The combination of rapidly warming temperatures, strong sun and light winds will loosen the snow on sunny slopes, and with high, thin clouds thrown into the mix, the snow on shady slopes may also become damp and sloppy at the mid and low elevations.  So stay off of and out from underneath any steep slope once the snow heats up and gets soggy.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden, and Provo mountains):
The avalanche danger is generally LOW this morning, with a MODERATE danger on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  With day time heating, the danger of wet loose avalanches will rise to MODERATE on and below steep, sun exposed slopes, and on low and mid elevation shady slopes.  In areas with continuously steep terrain such as the Provo mountains, the danger of wet slides may rise to CONSIDERABLE

Mountain Weather:
A strong high pressure ridge will dominate the weather over northern Utah through Thursday.  Skies will be mostly clear today, with bands of high thin clouds moving through.  Temperatures will warm rapidly, to near 40 at 8000’ and into the low 20’s at 10,000’.  The northwesterly winds will decrease to less than 10 mph.  Thursday will be a repeat, with sunny skies, light winds and even warmer temperatures.  A subtropical storm could affect northern Utah Friday night into Saturday, with warmer, dense snow.

Yesterday, Powderbird guides flew in American Fork, Cardiff, Days, Silver and the Emma Ridges.  Today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral, Grizzly Gulch, White Pine, and American Fork. 

We really appreciate any information you are willing to give us.  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 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 has some openings left in their February 3-day avalanche class, the 19-21st.  Registration is at Black Diamond retail.

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.

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.

Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: