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.


The NEW AND IMPROVED Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.utahavalanchecenter.com

To receive automated e-mails of this advisory click HERE.

Avalanche advisory

Friday, February 18, 2005
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, February 18th 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center has about 6 openings left in their 3-day avalanche class this weekend, the 19-21st.  Registration is at Black Diamond retail, call 278-0233.

Current Conditions:
Thin clouds are over the mountains and temperatures are in the mid 20’s along the ridges.  Ridgetop winds are from the south at less then 10 mph at most stations.

Avalanche Conditions:
Yesterday was the most active day out of the last week for human triggered avalanches.  There were also some results from helicopter test explosives as well.  Areas that had activity included Gobblers Knob, Butler Fork, Days Fork, Silver Fork, and possibly Dutches Draw but this avalanche may have been triggered on Wednesday.  Some of the avalanches were triggered from a distance or otherwise known as “remotely triggered”.  Most of these ran on a weak layer of faceted snow that formed in late January.  For more details on these call 364 1591.

It’s apparent that we have a slab sitting on a persistent weak layer of facets.  There is a crust associated with this weak layer in some areas as well.  The weakness varies from place to place making hazard evaluation “tricky” as one of our observers puts it.  This is a perfect “booby trap” type snowpack as you will find mostly stable snow in many areas, then, just around the corner you may trigger a slab avalanche.  The weakness is buried deep enough to make the size of these avalanches quite dangerous. 

With snow and wind in the forecast, the danger will rise over the next few days and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of our current weak layer, however “spotty” it may be.  On the other hand, this weakness just may not have received enough weight from the last few storms to become a widespread problem.  Time will tell but one thing is for sure, we do have weakness within the snowpack.


Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
he avalanche danger remains MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, with both loose sluff and slab avalanches possible.  In my opinion, this type of moderate danger makes for some of the most difficult hazard evaluation.  These are conditions that often catch even the most experienced backcountry travelers.

Mountain Weather:
Cloud cover will increase with a slight chance snow during the day.  Temperatures will be near 35 degrees at 8000 feet and in the mid 20’s at 10,000’.  Winds will be around 10 mph from the south.


Late this afternoon is when we should see more significant snowfall start.  Accumulations of 4-8” are possible by Saturday morning.  Strong winds are forecasted on Saturday with more snow expected during the day.


Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbirds were in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and Millcreek.  Today they will have two ships in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly White Pine and American Fork.

Thanks again to everyone who is sending in observations!  This advisory is for you and it’s great to hear from people who use it.  Please keep calling us at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mailing us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838.  Early birds can catch our early morning report at 6am by calling 364-1591.

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 Saturday morning.
Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: