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 22, 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 22nd, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Yesterday was a great day up in the mountains with excellent riding conditions and very pleasant weather.  With the warm temperatures, all but the more direct north facing aspects became wet and melt freeze crusts formed on them.  Currently under partly cloudy skies, ridgetop temperatures are in the low 20’s and winds are light from the east.

Avalanche Conditions:
The new snow from over the weekend settled quite a bit on Monday and was not as sensitive as on Sunday when a widespread natural avalanche cycle occurred.  However, I received numerous reports of human triggered avalanches and a few natural avalanches as well from Monday.  Also, some of the ski areas reported a good bit of activity from avalanche control work on Monday.

In backcountry terrain near Snowbasin, a skier triggered a slide and was caught and partially buried.  He was uninjured and was able to dig himself out.  A snowboarder in backcountry terrain near Powder Mountain remotely triggered a slide and narrowly avoided getting caught.  Near Alta, a snowboarder triggered a slide that broke above him but was able to get out of the way before it hit him.  Call 364-1591 for a few more details on these slides.

I also received numerous other reports of people triggering small soft slab avalanches throughout the Wasatch ranging from 6 to 12” deep and 30-75 feet wide.  All of the avalanches from yesterday involved the new snow from over the weekend with the exception of an observation of some deeper slides in the White Pine and Hogum Fork area which could have broken into old snow but this is unconfirmed.  Pay attention to collapsing as this is an indicator of deeper instability.

We don’t have completely stable or what I call “anything goes” type conditions right now.  You may still be able to trigger a soft slab avalanche within the newest snow and I would not rule out avalanches breaking into older snow just yet.  With cooler temperatures and clouds in store for today, wet activity will not be as great of a concern as it was yesterday.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper then 35 degrees in wind effected areas.  This danger could contain avalanches breaking into old snow making them much more dangerous.  Continue to follow safe backcountry protocol.  Expect the chance of an avalanche on steeper slopes and have an escape route planned. 

(http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm for an explanation of avalanche danger ratings.)

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
We have some moisture moving into the area today.  A few inches of snow should fall mainly in the afternoon.  Temperatures at 8000’ will be in the low 30’s and 10,000’ temperatures in the low 20’s.  Ridgetop winds will be less then 10 mph from the southeast.

There will be enough moisture over the area on Wednesday to produce scattered snow showers during the day and into the evening.  Partly cloudy skies are forecasted through the weekend.

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Lambs canyon.  Today, they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, and American Fork if they are able to fly.

If you have any observations you would like to share with us, call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mailing us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.  Your observations are very helpful in compiling the daily avalanche advisory.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838.  Early birds can catch our early morning avalanche activity report at 5am 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.

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

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: