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

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, February 10th 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:
Everybody is raving about the great powder snow.We havenít seen much of it this winter so I hope you enjoyed it while you could because this morning, ridge top temperatures are already in the mid 20ís, which is about 20 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday morning.Also increasing clouds this afternoon will likely finish off the nice snow.

Avalanche Conditions:
Usually, most avalanches occur during or right after a storm and the hazard decreases as time goes on.But just the opposite seems to be happening.The new snow that fell on Sunday night and Monday was very light density and not only didnít weigh enough to overload the buried weak layers of faceted snow and surface hoar, but the feather-like snow didnít form a slab.But time and warmer temperatures are stiffening up the new snow and weíre seeing more and more soft-slab avalanches.Yesterday, skiers triggered three different soft slab avalanches in American Fork on Mill Canyon Peak a little over a foot deep and about 50 feet wide on steep north through east facing slopes.Skiers also triggered a couple more soft slabs in the Provo area mountains at the top of Bridal Veil.(Photos)Finally, avalanche control at Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts were producing sensitive, soft slab avalanches on their upper mountain where they were not getting avalanches yesterday, probably because of recent wind drifting. Today, be sure to use good slope cuts and other safe travel practices.Slopes that were safe yesterday may be less so today and especially by this weekend when we expect denser, heavier snow on top of all this light snow.

Also, for the past couple days, people were able to sluff the snow easily on steep slopes, which generally donít catch people, but some of these sluffs have been quite substantial.For instance, yesterday, in Alexander Basin, one snowboarder was taken for a ride when his partner cut above him and triggered a loose sluff.The snowboarder went through small trees and over rocks and he broke his split board but was otherwise fine.

Finally, warmer temperatures and greenhousing from high clouds will continue to produce wet sluffs when the new snow gets soggy.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden, and Provo mountains):
The avalanche danger is still generally LOW today with a MODERATE danger on any steep slope where the new snow is more slab-like, especially wind drifted slopes.Also, with day time heating, the danger of wet loose avalanches will rise to MODERATE on and below steep slopes that become wet from sun or warmer temperatures.Finally, avalanche danger may rise dramatically by the weekend with the addition of dense new snow and wind.

Mountain Weather:
The party is nearly over.A wet, warm low pressure system is moving up from Baja and today we should have warmer temperatures, increasing clouds and increasing ridge top winds from the south.By Friday, we should see light snow showers and heavier snow showers on Saturday.Today, on the ridge tops, temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20ís with 10-20 mph winds from the south with thicker clouds moving in by afternoon.Down at 8,000í day time highs will be in the lower 40ís.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird guides flew in American Fork, Cardiff, Days, and the Emma Ridges.Today they will be in the same areas plus Silver Fork and White Pine.

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 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.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838

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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.

Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings:

http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm